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The Scientist in Residence Collaboration

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Since September 2010 the department of psychology is collaborating with London-based advertising agency DDB UK in a unique collaboration scheme, the Scientist in Residence.

The Scientist in Residence (SiR) scheme places a Goldsmiths psychologist for consultancy at the DDB UK headquarters in Paddington roughly once a week. The scheme also includes project- and campaign-related consultancy as well as a number of Master's projects that are run each year in joint supervision between DDB and Goldsmiths.

This page contains materials and information related to the Scientist in residence collaboration: 

Information on the Scientist in Residence Collaboration

Youtube video from MSc project presentation day

The Scientist in residence blog

MSc Projects with Joint Supervision (2010-2011)

Share Value: The psychology of online information sharing

Goldsmiths Supervisor: Jonathan Freeman

DDB Supervisor: Leo Rayman

Communication is a cognitive and social psychological process, central to almost every aspect of life. The reception, understanding and transmission of information have been investigated through a wide range of theories and approaches. Most fundamentally, communication is at the base of the relation between the individual and their world and cannot be understood separately from this complex social process.

Previous research has identified a broad range of factors which can influence individuals' information reception and transmission behaviours – the two essential components of information sharing. These can be grouped into features of:

  • The individual: interests, personality, values, identity (group membership), needs, desires, status, motivation.
  • The message: appeal, arousal, valence (positive or negative), format (simplicity), narrative.
  • The context: social and cultural norms, behavioural norms, ease of transmission.

This MSc project will adopt an empirical approach to evaluate the relative contributions of the individual, the message and the context in supporting viral sharing, to enable broad predictions of what (types of) messages are likely to be most readily shared in a variety of contexts. The goal of the research will be to build a model of online information sharing to provide an evidence base to inform the development of new viral campaigns, and to enable different creative approaches to new campaigns to be evaluated in advance (pre-tested).

Relevant references

Implicit vs. Explicit Pre-testing of Ads

Goldsmiths Supervisor: Alan Pickering

DDB Supervisor: Les Binet

Advertisers expend considerable energy and money pretesting their advertisements to check that they are likely to be successful in the market-place. Industry-standard explicit quantitative measures are now routinely deployed with a robust track-record of performance. However, experience of these quantitative measures is that they are not always entirely successful. In recent decades, cognitive psychology has revealed that powerful behavioural effects can be achieved implicitly. Some work has specifically addressed the effects of advertising on implicit cognitive systems (eg Perfect and Heatherley, 1997). This raises the natural question of whether implicit pretests of advertisement effects might deliver further improvements in the ability to predict the likely success of an advertising campaign. The project would aim to use our knowledge of implicit cognitive systems to design a novel implicit pretest to explore the effects of adverts. A question of interest would be whether such implicit pretests might be differentially sensitive (cf explicit pretests) to some aspects of the “rough and ready” versions of advertisements that are routinely used when pretesting adverts. (These are known as animatics, i.e. cartoonised rough-cuts of the adverts being considered for full development.)

Perfect, T. J. & Heatherley, S. (1997). Preference for advertizements, logos and names: the effects of implicit memory. Psychological Reports, 80, 803-808.

The effects of music in advertising

Goldsmiths supervisors: Daniel Müllensiefen
DDB supervisor: Sarah Carter

Conventionally, music is regarded a very effective but poorly understand component of successful television ads. This project aims at understanding how and to what degree music can influence to effectiveness of TV ads from a cognitive and social psychology perspective.

The project is run in collaboration with the London-based advertising agency DDB where TV ads and other necessary materials can be sourced. The project can be divided into two sub-projects: The first sub-project intends to demonstrate the differences between different version of the same ad using different types of music (music that fits or less well), or no music as a soundtrack. Different dimensions of cognitive and emotional processing are to be assessed across the different ad versions. Paradigms and techniques from cognitive research of film music (e.g. Cohen 2000, 2001) can be used to measure the effects of music on brand and product perception, emotional interpretation, and memory encoding.

The second sub-project aims at identifying the relative effectiveness of music as an implicit conveyor of meaning in TV ads compared to the effectiveness of explicit verbal messages delivered via speech or written text. As a hypothesis it is assumed that music as a stimulus is primarily processed by implicit, involuntary, and automatic cognitive strategies which on the whole can outweigh explicit information processing given in terms of ad effectiveness (see Gilovich et al., 2008, for theoretical background). One important question to be addressed is how much of the feel and meaning of ads is conveyed by music alone. Different versions of the same ads using English vs. other languages (not understandable to the audience) and music can be used as stimuli in a between-groups experimental design.

  • Cohen, A.J. (2000). Film music: Perspectives from cognitive psychology. In J. Buhler et al. (Eds), Music and cinema (pp. 360-377). Middlebury: Wesleyan University Press.
  • Cohen, A.J. (2001). Music as a source of emotion in film. In P. Juslin & J. Sloboda (Eds), Music and emotion (pp. 249-272). Oxford: University Press.
  • Gilovich, T, Griffin, D. & Kahneman, D. (2008). Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgement. Cambridge: University Press.