READING PASSAGE 1
How consumers decide
Professor John Maule from the University of Leeds describes new research into the way that consumers choose a product.
Consumers are creatures of habit: they buy the same products time and time again, and such is their familiarity with big brands and the colours and logos that represent them, that they can register a brand they like with barely any conscious thought process. The packaging of consumer products is, therefore, a crucial vehicle for delivering the brand and the product into our shopping baskets.
Having said this, understanding how consumers make decisions, and the crucial role of packaging in this process has been a neglected area of research so far. This is surprising given that organisations invest huge amounts of money in developing packaging that they believe is effective – especially at the retail level. Our Centre for Decision Research at Leeds University’s Business School, in collaboration with Faraday Packaging, is now undertaking work in this area. It has already led to some important findings that challenge the ways in which organisations think about consumer choice.
The research has focused on two fundamental types of thinking. On the one hand, there’s ‘heuristic processing’, which involves very shallow thought and is based on very simple rules: 1) buy what you recognize, 2) choose what you did last time, or
3) choose what a trusted source suggests. This requires comparatively little effort, and involves looking at – and thinking about – only a small amount of the product information and packaging. One can do this with little or no conscious thought.
On the other hand, ‘systematic processing’ involves much deeper levels of thought. When people choose goods in this way, they engage in quite detailed analytical thinking – taking account of the product information, including its price, its perceived quality and so on. This form of thinking, which is both analytical and conscious, involves much more mental effort.
The role of packaging is likely to be very different for each of these types of decision making. Under heuristic processing, for example, consumers may simply need to be able to distinguish the pack from those of competitors since they are choosing on the basis of what they usually do. Under these circumstances, the simple perceptual features of the pack may be critical – so that we can quickly discriminate what we choose from the other products on offer. Under systematic processing, however, product-related information may be more important, so the pack has to provide this in an easily identifiable form.
Consumers will want to be able to compare the product with its competitors, so that theycan determine which option is better for them. A crucial role of packaging in this situation is to communicate the characteristics of the product, highlighting its advantages over possible competitors.
So, when are people likely to use a particular type of thinking? First, we know that people are cognitive misers; in other words, they are economical with their thinking because it requires some effort from them. Essentially, people only engage in effort- demanding systematic processing when the situation justifies it, for example when they are not tired or distracted and when the purchase is important to them. Second, people have an upper limit to the amount of information they can absorb. If we present too much, therefore, they will become confused. This, in turn, is likely to lead them to disengage and choose something else.
Third, people often lack the knowledge or experience needed, so will not be able to deal with things they do not already understand, such as the ingredients of food products, for example.
And fourth, people vary in the extent to which they enjoy thinking. Our research has differentiated between people with a high need for thinking – who routinely engage in analytical thinking – and those low in the need for cognition, who prefer to use very simple forms of thinking.
This work has an important impact on packaging in that what makes packaging effective is likely to vary according to the type of processing strategy that consumers use when choosing between products. You need to understand how consumers are selecting your products if you are to develop packaging that is relevant. Furthermore, testing the effectiveness of your packaging can be ineffective if the methods you are employing concern one form of thinking (e.g. a focus group involving analytical thinking) but your consumers are purchasing in the other mode (i.e. the heuristic, shallow form of thinking).
For the packaging industry, it is important that retailers identify their key goals. Sustaining a consumer’s commitment to a product may involve packaging that is distinctive at the heuristic level (if the consumers can recognize the product they will buy it) but without encouraging consumers to engage in systematic processing (prompting deeper level thinking that would include making comparisons with other products).
Conversely, getting consumers to change brands may involve developing packaging that includes information that does stimulate systematic processing and thus encourages consumers to challenge their usual choice of product. Our work is investigating these issues, and the implications they have for developing effective packaging.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage? Write answers in your answer sheet write:
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
1. Little research has been done on the link between packaging and consumers choosing a product.
2. A person who buys what another person recommends is using heuristic thinking.
3. Heuristic processing requires more energy than systematic processing.
4. The concept of heuristic processing was thought up by Dr Maule’s team.
5. A consumer who considers how much a product costs, is using systematic processing.
6. For heuristic processing, packaging must be similar to other products.
Questions 7 — 8
Choose the correct answer A, B, C or D.
7. When trying to determine how effective packaging is, testing can be made ‘ineffective’ if
A. you rely upon a very narrow focus group.
B. your consumers use only heuristic thinking.
C. the chosen consumers use only shallow thinking.
D. your tests do not match the consumers’ thinking type.
8. If a retailer wants consumers to change brands their packaging needs to be
Questions 9 — 13
Complete the summary below. Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer.
Write your answers next to Questions 9 — 13 below.
For consumers who want to compare products, it is important that your packaging stresses the 9 __________ of your product. We know that people only use systematic processing if the 10 __________. makes it necessary or desirable. We also know that too much 11 __________ could make consumers choose another product. Furthermore, consumers may not fully understand details such as the 12__________ of a product. While some people like using systematic processing, others like to think in a 13 __________ way.
READING PASSAGE 2
A review of Nigel Townson’s The British at Play
An estimated three million Britons take part in some sort of sporting activity every week. Globally, around four billion people – over half the world’s entire population – watch at least part of major events like the Olympic Games. Sport is big business. In fact, it is the UK’s 11th largest industry, employing over 400,000 people.
But these figures don’t get to the heart of the social power and significance of sport in the modern world. It is a powerful social force in Britain, as in many other cultures. Friends and colleagues regularly discuss sport, and it is one of relatively few topics that are acceptable when initiating social interaction with strangers. Expressions from sport have passed into general use: we talk about ‘team players’ in situations that have nothing to do with sport, and the word ‘goal’, meaning an objective, probably evolved from its meaning in sport.
Why is sport so important in society? The British at Play – a Social History of British Sport from 1600 to the Present, by Nigel Townson, sets out to answer that question by examining the connections between sport and social class, gender, violence, commercialism, race and even our sense of national identity.
The British at Play explains these complex issues simply and straightforwardly. For example, it highlights the way in which sport contributes to the creation of ‘in groups’, most notably the supporters of particular football teams. Such informal associations define themselves by their loyalty to their own group and opposition to others, the ‘out groups’, and in an extreme form, this opposition leads to the phenomenon of football hooliganism. The author handles the issue well, showing what is wrong with the well- known stereotypes of soccer hooligans. He argues that media coverage of fan behaviour helps to create a climate in which hooliganism occurs. And when trouble does break out, the media sensationalises and exaggerates it, with the result that an atmosphere of panic builds up in the country.
Several of the topics relate to social changes in Britain in recent decades. Women are entering fields of activity which would have been closed to them just a generation ago – as football commentators, producers of sports programmes for radio and television, editors of sports magazines. This greater visibility of women highlights the weakening of the traditional view that sport is mainly for men.
The worldwide health-and-fitness boom has to some extent been driven by our growing wish to have a ‘perfect’ body shape. And that desire has been encouraged, if not created, by the emphasis in sport on images of ‘ideal’ male and female bodies.
Sport fits in well with the global TV world of beautiful and perfectly muscled young people, exercising or playing sports, dressed in the latest fashionable sports gear. Sport images in the media do not depend on the written word, just on strong images, reaching out directly to the emotions of the viewer – the perfect medium for advertisers. So sport becomes big money, attracting more and more commercial interest and investment. Some international TV companies depend on the popularity of sport for their survival. Football clubs turn themselves into businesses, raising money by selling merchandise and by selling their shares on the stock market.
The British at Play is an excellent work, of great value and interest to a wide range of audiences, but if I have one criticism of it, it is this: despite its title, the book is not about play. It does not ask the most basic question of all – why do people do sport? Why is it so popular? The book did not, for me, go far enough in transmitting the power, the energy, the passion, the emotion and the joy of sport. The social power of sport ultimately rests on this psychological and physical appeal – the way it involves the whole person, the way in which it allows us to play.
Complete the summary below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.
Sport is of major importance around the world, with around 14 __________ participants in the UK. It has great social significance. Unlike many other subjects, it is sometimes used to start conversations between 15 __________, and it is the source of a number of everyday 16 __________ . The writer examines the way in which groups are formed whose members show 17 __________ to each other. Their 18 __________ to ‘out groups’ can lead to violence. The writer rejects the common 19 _________ that are used to describe football hooligans. Instead, he focuses on 20 __________ in the media, and shows how this can create a public sense of 21 __________ .
Complete each sentence with the correct ending A-G from the box below.
22. The change in personnel in sports activities
23. Growing interest in health and fitness
24. Advertising related to sport
25. The greater role of business in sport
26. The only weakness of The British at Play
A is unlikely to continue in the same form.
B lies in how the appeal of sport is explained.
C shows that sport is no longer seen as a mainly masculine activity.
D makes considerable use of pictures of sportsmen and women.
E has resulted in large salaries for players.
F is partly caused by a focus on the physical characteristics of sportsmen and women.
G has led to changes in the activities of some football clubs.
READING PASSAGE 3
The strange world of sight
Seeing is believing, it is said. But, asks Richard Gregory, could it be the other way round?
Two of the great British men of the 17th century, the philosopher John Locke and the physicist Isaac Newton, were both aware that objects are not coloured, and that against all appearances light is not coloured either. This is still not generally recognized even now, 400 years later, because it seems so implausible. Yet it tells us something very important – that perceptions are not identical with what we perceive, and may be very different.
The most accurate historical account of perception is that of the 19th-century German scientist Hermann von Helmholtz. However, it was ridiculed at the time. Von Helmholtz thought that perceptions are unconscious inferences we make based on a combination of clues provided by the eyes and other senses, and knowledge of the world. This idea of unconscious inference for perception preceded, by several years, the psychoanalyst Freud’s notion of the unconscious, which was also initially treated with derision because it undermined the notion of humans as pre-eminently rational beings who could be held responsible for their actions and awarded blame or praise accordingly.
Crucially, perception of the present depends on rich, though of course not always correct or appropriate, knowledge from the past. We interpret sense data (what we hear, touch, taste, see and smell) from the present according to what we already know. This raises the question: if we see the present through memory, why aren’t past and present confused? The pioneering Russian neurologist Alexander Luria described the case of Mr. S, who had a remarkable memory. However, he was prone to just such confusions, for example mistaking seeing his clock for remembering it, and so failing to get up in the morning. This suggests that perhaps an important function of perception is to underline the present. Individual perceptions have a vividness that is rare for memories, which might be how we are able to separate them. Try this: look at something for a few seconds, and then shut your eyes and visualize it in memory. You will almost certainly find that the memory is pale by comparison with the perception. Perhaps this is why past and present are not normally confused, Luria’s Mr S had exceptionally vivid memories, and rich synesthesia (experiencing perceptions from another sense as well as the one being stimulated, such as musical motes experienced as colours), which may be why he confused seeing with having seen.
The complexity of processes involved in how we see first impressed itself on me 45 years ago. With my colleague Jean Wallace, I studied the rare case of Sydney Bradford, a man who had been born blind but, through a corneal graft at the age of 52, suddenly found himself able to see. Almost immediately after the operation he was able to “see” but he could only see those things that he already knew about, having experienced them through touch. It was his touch memories that enabled him to perceive them with his eyes. When Bradford was first taken to the zoo, he proved utterly unable to see an elephant as he had no knowledge to make sense of his perceptions.
The more recent case in California of Mike May, who was also born blind, is similar. Since his operation, his sight has gradually improved as he learns to see, for example, by understanding how shadows represent depth and tell us about the shape of things. Some of the consequences of May’s new-found vision were less happy. He had been a champion blind skier, but following the operation, he would have to shut his eyes while skiing to block out what he now found was a terrifying sight.
But acceptance of this intimate connection between memory and perception, even though it was first noticed in the 17th century, has been slow in brain science. Despite the fact that state-of-the-art brain imaging shows that perception animates
parts of the brain associated with both present information and memory, most research on memory and perception is still undertaken as if these were separate processes. Seeing used to be thought of as taking place only in the eyes, and in quite specialized brain regions: but now it seems that half the brain is occupied with seeing, requiring a lot of energy. Perhaps this is why we shut our eyes for a rest.
It is not just extreme cases like Mike May, but also much more common errors of seeing – illusions – that can reveal the crucial role of memory in governing what we (think we) see. Perception depends on specific knowledge and probabilities. Our brains calculate the likelihood of what is out there, and when too far-fetched, perceptions are rejected.
A dramatic and discomforting example is looking at the two sides of a face-mask. From the front it is a convex shape with the nose sticking out. Then if the mask is rotated, the back of the mask will be seen as convex, though we know that it must be concave. It is almost, if not quite, impossible to sketch the back of a hollow mask to look as it is – hollow. Science often learns from what does not happen: people not seeing a hollow face as hollow is the most revealing experiment on perception. The unsettling truth from brain science is that even people with no visual impairment see what, at some level, they expect to see, and often miss things as they really are.
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C, or D.
27. Why does the writer refer to Locke and Newton in the first paragraph?
A to indicate that his article will cover several scientific fields
B to stress how much physics has changed in 400 years
C to persuade the reader to take him seriously
D to point out that his notions are not new
28. According to the writer, why was Freud’s theory of the unconscious mocked?
A It was too complex for his contemporaries to understand.
B It involved criticism of the way people behaved in society.
C People felt that it devalued the accepted concept of humanity.
D People assumed that it was intended as a joke.
29. The writer describes Mr S failing to get up in order to demonstrate
A how realistic most people’s memories are
B how hard it is to tell dreaming and waking apart
C how unusual it is to mistake a perception for a memory
D how valuable knowledge of the past can be
30. What point is the writer making in the text as a whole?
A Perception involves much more than the data collected by the yes.
B Learning to see as an adult can be a time-consuming process.
C Science is failing to devote enough attention to sight.
D Human perception is remarkably reliable.
Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 3? In boxes 31-36 on your answer sheet, write
YES – if the statement agrees with the views of the writer
NO – if the statement contradicts the views of the writer
NOT GIVEN – if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
31. Sydney Bradford relied on relied on recollections of objects he had been told about to help him see after his operation.
32. People who only start to see as adults can learn to see as other people do in time.
33. People who have gained their sights as adults find certain activities harder to do than before.
34. It is evident now that sight involves the eyes and one particular area of the brain.
35. The mask experiment is particularly useful in training people who are regaining their sight.
36. People with perfect vision can fail to interpret objects correctly under certain circumstances.
Complete the summary using the list of words, A-J, below. Write the correct letter, A-J, in boxes 37-40 on your answer sheet.
The mask experiment
In this experiment, having looked at the front of a simple face-mask, subjects look at the reverse. However, the subjects are convinced that they are still looking at a mask which is 37 __________ in shape. They believe that the 38 __________ is poking out in the normal manner because that is what they are used to seeing. Attempting to make a 39 __________ of the mask in this orientation leads to the same problem. The subjects fail to see a concave form because of the 40 __________ they have that the features of a face stick out.
4 NOT GIVEN
9 advantages / characteristics
Hey, complete answers aren’t available of this test.