Beware of Behaviour Gaps


Posted by

Barry Siskind

UFI’s Community Manager

Have you found that sometimes exhibitors and visitors do they sometimes tell you one thing but behave differently? Researchers have labeled this phenomenon the “Behaviour Gap.” It was first studied in the 1930’s by a US psychologist Dr. Richard LaPiere. He found that many restaurants in California were not welcoming to certain immigrants in spite of liberal attitudes. He found was a clear difference between attitude and behaviour.

The problem he identified was that the results of a questionnaire often depend on how the questions are asked. For the person being surveyed, the answer they give is a direct reaction to the information they have at their disposal. Without taking into account things like social norms and culture the results can be misleading.

Behaviour gaps are particularly important in the exhibition industry because of the long time line from inception of an idea to the execution of an exhibition.

Psychologists have no definitively answer as to why there is this difference between attitude and behaviour. The best we can do now is to be aware of a possible weakness in our market research.

If any one has had some experience in dealing with this behaviour gap let us know. This is a topic that is worth talking about.

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