The moment comes, your first opportunity to show your smarts around behaviour change, but like a deer in the headlights, heart pumping, dry mouth, you scramble to remember that article you read about optimism bias…just like that, your moment has passed.

Vowing never to let anyone suffer the same fate as I did, I’ve put together a series of consumer hacks aimed at giving you a quick boost of 10 iQ points in any client meeting.

Consumer Hack No. 2: Experiencing vs. Remembering – What we experience is not always what we remember.


Experiment – Two unlucky men had to endure the ‘not so nice’ procedure of a colonoscopy back in the 1990’s when it was a much more painful experience than it is today. Each of them reported their level of pain in 60 seconds intervals until the entire procedure was over. ‘Patient A’ endured a much shorter procedure than ‘Patient B’ (lucky guy!), with ‘Patient B’s level of pain tapering off towards the end.


Result – After the procedure, each of the patients was asked the question: “How much pain did you suffer?”. Interestingly, the patient who suffered more pain – ‘Patient B’ – remembered his level of pain to be much less than what ‘Patient A’ recalled…wait, what? Didn’t ‘Patient B’ experience a lot more pain than ‘Patient A’?

The researcher concluded that the level of pain at the end of the procedure had a greater impact on how the patient remembered the experience. So even though ‘Patient A’ had a much shorter procedure, his level of pain was high right at the end. This suggests that what we remember is only a snippet of what we actually experience and that the end of our experience significantly impacts the way we remember it.

Takeaway – The final moments of the experience matter the most. Next time you are designing an experience for a brand, make sure you do everything you can to leave the consumer delighted at the end. Trust me, your audience will remember having a better experience and will be more inclined to tell other about their positive experience.

Winning – 10 IQ points achieved.

Now, let’s make things a little more personal. Next time you hear someone say “you have to see this movie”, ask them what they thought of the ending. If they tell you that it had the most incredible ending, then there is a good chance you will have to sit through 75 minutes of mediocre acting just to see a good ending. But, don’t let this deter you from watching it, as it’s likely that you will remember it to be an amazing movie too.

Until next time, best of luck with your ‘Netflix and chilling’.