Empathy gap

Research. For an experiment, 98 smokers from the age of 18 to 40, who smoked at least 10 cigarettes daily, were selected. Smokers were asked to quit smoking for two days. Participants in a cold-state (no craving) underestimated how much money they were willing to accept to give up smoking. This was in contrast with participants in a hot-state (craving) who asked for significantly higher amounts to give up smoking.

Sayette et al. (2008). Exploring the Cold-to-Hot Empathy Gap in Smokers

“Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”

Case study. Impulse Saver from Westpac makes it easy to avoid impulse spending with a big red button for impulse saving on their mobile app. Upon receiving weekly pay, users in a hot-state can now easily make a quick decision to impulse save instead of spend.

Thought starters.

» Prompt people to commit to making positive long-term decisions when they are in a cold-state (less emotional) » When people are in a hot-state (more emotional), make it easy to avoid bad decisions and opt for something good instead