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Friday, 7 June 2013

Sainsbury's mood boosting experiment

Yesterday, I took part in an experiment for Sainsbury's. Sainsbury's is carrying research out to try and identify which ordinary experiences are most likely to make everyday more special. The thought process being that they can then use their findings to help improve their by Sainsbury's range i.e. creating special products at every day prices.

I turned up at Blue Rubicon's very snazzy offices in More Place, near London Bridge with no idea of what to expect. I was shown to a room where I was wired up to some electrodes which were measuring my skin conductivity and a heart monitor. I was then hynotised and read out some pleasant scenarios - some of which were food based, while others were situation based. For example, I was given a lovely description about coming home on a cold autumnal day to a hot apple pie with double cream and also another on finding out there is a discount on an item of clothing I've been coveting for months.

I've never been hypnotised before. I was told to close my eyes and listen to the lady's relaxing voice. In all honesty, I'm not sure if I was hypnotised or not. I certainly kept thinking my usual mundane thoughts throughout the whole thing like 'that electrode's a bit itchy' and 'will they notice if I scratch my arm?'. The hypnosis took approximately 20 minutes - maybe that wasn't enough time to be fully 'under'. I was supposed to feel really relaxed too, but I wasn't particularly.

So 10 scenarios were read out all together and my heart rate and conductivity were measured. The science behind this is that the more I liked the sound of a scenario, the higher my heart rate and skin conductivity. I wasn't completely sold on the idea. It's so very subjective and therefore how is it possible to make fair comparisons? For example, someone who doesn't drive will never get the thrill of finding the last parking space on a busy street and similarly I was completely ambivalent to a description of a steak covered in dijon mustard because a) I'm not very keen on steak and b) I really don't like mustard.

Anyway, apparently when all the results are in, by Sainsbury's will have a much better idea of how to improve their range, so watch this space!

Here are some photos from the experiment - don't I blend in splendidly with the chair?

Have you ever been hypnotised before and, if so, what was it like?

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