What do power, alcohol and anonymity all have in common?

One of the things I like about behavioural economics is its insistence that you look at the context in which people act rather than just their ‘attitudes’ (which aren’t consistent anyway).  This articles makes an interesting comparison between power, alcohol and anonymity, they can all make us swing between altruistic and unethical behaviour.  This fits in nicely with some of the research we’ve been conducting in labs looking at how people under different temporary states (such as hunger) answer questionnaires differently.  When answering questionnaires people do so anonymously, but when they’re buying products in the shop they do so publically, what impact could this have?  What if people answered questionnaires publically?

Understanding how people feel when making purchase decisions – e.g. do they feel empowered – and what triggers these feelings, could point towards interesting insights.




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