A question arises as to whether this type of “spying” inappropriately invades the privacy of consumers. Although there may be cause for some concern in that the particular individuals have not consented to be part of this research, it should be noted that there is no particular interest in what the individual customer being watched does. The question is what consumers—either as an entire group or as segments—do. Consumers benefit, for example, from stores that are designed effectively to promote efficient shopping. If it is found that women are more uncomfortable than men about others standing too close, the areas of the store heavily trafficked by women can be designed accordingly. What is being reported here, then, are averages and tendencies in response. The intent is not to find “juicy” observations specific to one customer.
the available evidence does not allow for the strong conclusion that IAT effects are implicit in the sense of being always independent of the goals to avoid or alter the expression of the to-be-measured attribute. Nevertheless, it does seem to be the case that IAT effects are more difficult to control than are most traditional (questionnaire) measures.
Sixty-five undergraduate students (46 women) from the University of British Columbia participated in the “Restaurant Experience Study” in exchange for a course credit. The experiment was run in small groups of no more than four people per session. Each session was randomly assigned to one of the four noise conditions. Upon arrival, participants were asked to take one of the four available desks, which were strategically placed on the arc of a semicircle. Two stereophonic speakers on stands were positioned in the center of the circle, so that all desks were equidistant to the speakers. For the high-, moderate-, and low-noise conditions, the noise level was measured using a sound-level meter before each session and was kept constant (≈85 dB, 70 dB, or 50 dB; variation due to changes in noise content was approximately ±3 dB) at each desk. The setup was identical for the control condition, except that no noise soundtrack was played.
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