B2 Use of English Multiple Choice Exam 6

The psychology of shopping

The psychology of shopping is very (1) . In theory people judge products solely on their merits, by considering quality, value and style (2) making a decision about whether to buy or not. This is not always the case. Many people admit to being more influenced (3) what the people around them think and say. They feel this is a smarter way to make decisions rather than (4) on their own opinions. As a consequence, groups of friends and relatives tend to buy the same products. Research in Finland recently found overwhelming evidence that neighbours have a big influence on (5) decisions. They found that when one of a person's ten nearest neighbours bought a car, the chances that that person would buy a car of the same brand during the next week and a half rose by 86 per cent. This makes things very difficult for the marketing teams in companies who have to try and predict what people are likely to buy. They don't have a clear understanding (6) the underlying reasons for this behaviour, and are studying several possibilities. One idea is that because they are so similar with regard to how much money they make and what television ads they watch that they independently arrive at the same decision. Another possibility is that they copy one (7) , perhaps out of envy or perhaps because they have shared information about the products. Researchers have found that one of the main components to explain this behaviour is confidence. Used cars seemed to attract neighbours even more (8) new cars. This suggested that people were not trying to keep up with their neighbours, they were keen to learn from them. Since used cars are less reliable, a recommendation of one can strongly influence a buying decision.

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