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Novelty and Attention

 

Explanations > Perception > Attention > Novelty and Attention

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

Things which are new to us grab our attention. We think 'what's that?' and may be intrigued by the new thing, perhaps wanting to explore it to find out more.

The novelty does not have to be related to what you are selling or offering, although this can help. It is more important that it grabs attention for long enough that you can redirect their subsequent attention onto the area of real interest for you.

Example

A car sales person puts an old chariot out in the car lot. It gets enough attention to increase the number of people who stop to discuss new cars.

A consultant uses a phone app to get people to use a new computer system. They have not seen such usage before and join in as much out of curiosity as direct interest.

An advertiser shows an animal using their products, then talks about how attractive and easy the product is.

Discussion

When we are absorbing the world around us, taking it all in and making sense of it, we first look for things that are familiar, fitting these to our models of the world. When we find a fit between experience and memory, the brain rewards us with feelings of comfort as we recognize and classify objects, contexts and experiences.

When we cannot find a fit, we may perceive the item as a potential threat. Initial attention to the unfamiliar is often a threat check. However we usually quickly conclude there is no harm and curiosity becomes the dominant emotion. Again, this continues to create attention.

So what?

Get people's attention by doing something different or presenting them with some kind of novelty. It need not be radical and even small changes can have the desired effect. Do note whether you want to trigger fear or curiosity (or other emotions) and design your novelty accordingly.

See also

Perception, The SIFT Model

 

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