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Toys, Action Figures, Vintage Toys, and Collectibles.

Figure Psychology: People's opinions and your buying decisionFigure Psychology: People's opinions and your buying decision

leithleith1 month agoMisc
Disclaimer just to be on the safe side ~

This article is considered as popular psychology (a.k.a. fake psychology).
I'm just an enthusiast and not a psychology major.
The content is purely my opinion/interpretation so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, I always appreciate all inputs.


Hi everyone,
Figure collecting is a solitary pursuit. Thankfully, the internet makes it easy to connect with like-minded folks and thus online communities were born. MFC is one of them and here we are continually exposed to various information on a daily basis. It could be in the form of reviews, opinions, etc. When we buy a figure, we tend to attribute the decision to ourselves. But what if in reality it's not true?
To support my hypothesis, I'd like to adopt a branch of study that applies psychological theories (particularly those related to cognition and behaviorism) to economics and personal finance. It's called behavioral finance and it examines why people make certain financial decisions. In this article, I'd like to present the findings that might be related to the topic. Without further ado, let's begin!

1. The power of the story
"Human actions tend to be based not on quantitative factors but on storytelling. People tend to look for simple reasons for their decisions and will often base their decision on whether these reasons exist."

There is an experiment where researchers gave subjects a choice on which parent they would choose for sole custody of a child. One parent was described as average in every aspect whereas the other was described with both positive characteristics (very close relationship with a child, above-average income, etc.) and negative characteristics (health problems, travels a lot, etc.). Of the subjects studied, 64 percent picked the second. Then, another group of subjects was given the same choice but asked which one they would deny custody to. Interestingly, that group also picked the second parent.

According to the finding, collectors tend to pass on buying a figure if there is limited information. Also, the availability of reviews plays a key role in determining whether collectors buy a figure or not. The reason is collectors are more comfortable with buying decisions that can be justified with a strong story than one without.

2. Herd Behavior
"There is a tendency of human beings to be swayed by crowds"

Researchers asked a group of people a question to which the answer was obvious, but the other people in the group had been induced to provide the wrong answer deliberately. The experiment found that the subject changed his own answer one-third of the time to reflect the incorrect answer given in the group.

The experiment shows that there is a desire to be part of the crowd or share their beliefs. It might explain why there are some figures/manufacturers/shops that are very popular. The contrary could happen too and I think it's more apparent. I mean, would you buy a figure knowing that it's marred by defects? Or would you buy a figure from shops that are known to be unreliable? In those cases, we don't know the truth but we stay away regardless. Such is the power of stigma.

3. Overconfidence and Intuitive Thinking
"The confidence, often in the face of poor odds, may have been what allowed us to survive "

There is an experiment where the researchers asked people factual questions. They found that people gave an answer and consistently overestimated the probability that they were right. In fact, they were right only about 80 percent of the time that they thought they were.

A critical person would have noticed a weak point in argument #1. What if the figure is only available for preorder? That's the ultimate case of limited information. Also what if the person naturally relies on his/her intuition (N-type)? Based on the finding above, when people use their intuition for decision making, they tend to be overconfident and disappointed when the actual product fails to meet their hopes or expectations (I'm really sorry for saying this but I present the finding as it is).

So, what do you think? Do other people's opinions influence your buying decision?
If not, does your intuition serve you well over the course of your collecting career?
Don't forget to take the poll ~

Thanks for reading.

References:
B. Fischhoff, P. Slovic, and S. Lichtenstein, “Knowing with Uncertainty: The Appropriateness of Extreme Confidence,” Journal of Experimental Psychology 3 (1977):522–564.
E. Shafir, I. Simonson, and A. Tversky, “Money Illusion,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 112 (1997): 341–374.
S. E. Asch, “Effects of Group Pressure upon the Modification and Distortion of Judgment,” in H. Guertzkow, ed., Groups, Leadership, and Men (Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Press, 1951).
1,394 hits • 4 likes27 comments

Do other people's opinions influence your buying decision?

  • 31%Yes
  • 62%No
  • 4%I don't know
  • 3%Other answers
  • 216 votesVotes are public

Comments27

Selected Comments
33pt
Most of the time my decision is based on user-submitted photos (and sometimes videos on youtube), as that generally gives me a pretty good idea of the figure quality

I was going to say that's kind of a midway between being influenced and not, but then again I am basing my opinion on the appearance of the actual product as opposed to just the idealized commercial for it. I don't think that counts as other people's influence, despite it relying on other people's submissions, so I went with 'no' as my answer
1 month ago
Recent Comments
3pt
I vote yes mainly because I do look at reviews and stuff to see other people opinion on the product. I would usually look at the pictures of the figure first to see if I like it or not. Then I will see people comment because I am not an expert into manufacturers and stuff and the details that people comment actually do affect the chance that I am going to buy the product or not.
1 month ago
2pt
Chloe-tsundere The louise otaku
Luckily they don influence me when it comes to buying.

There are plenty of ppl in the community who hate on louise, it never made me love her any less or stop collecting. Same for tsunderes in general ^^

However.. i do keep in mind there are ppl who dont want to be confronted with nude ones so i do keep those to bedroom only and the attic :) so ppl who dont appreciate it dont feel uncomfortable.
But in general, idc if they approve of it. The only thing that i did get influenced on tho, were lolis. Now i rather not have any nude lolis. Even if i find those cute, they dont come across as innocent and cute on many. So at most, ecchi it is.
1 month ago
6pt
Figure collecting was never a solitary pursuit for me. I collect with my husband. So, yes, he influences me to buy some figure and I influence him to buy others. That's the main reason I love collecting, to share this hobby with someone I love =]
1 month ago
3pt
leith (1 month ago) #75799939
Regarding the disappointment, actually I was inspired by this article about Pulchra and its bad reputation. @Eccmy pointed out that it started from a twitter discussion where users complained about the stark difference between the prototype and the actual product. I think the majority is still reluctant to buy from them despite few commenters like @murialita said that their newer stuff is worth a second try. That brings us to point #2. Because most people stay away from FOTS, Pulchra, Griffon and the likes, we tend to follow them (irrespective of the motive).


I agree with Dtindcarea on part of this. The herd mentality example is people changing their answer or choice to fit in with the group. The example about people avoiding things based on bad reputation etc isn't changing an answer to the "wrong" one to fit it, it's based on point #3 intuitive thinking.

The poll results are interesting, though if you follow many articles and forum posts on MFC, the "best" retailer was decided long before the poll was made. Out of my entire collection I have purchased two items from AmiAmi's ebay shop, and none from www.amiami.com/... . The other stores on the poll I think I used maybe once or twice.

Overall interesting views on collecting and psychology.
1 month ago
3pt
leith (1 month ago) #75799939On this end of year article by @galablue, one shop win by a very large margin so there may be some reason outside their excellent service. I guessed many first-time buyers choose the popular one and stick with them if it's satisfactory enough. It's similar to the phenomenon in which people tend to choose a crowded restaurant rather than the empty one. While it seems that the decision is a rational one (the busier one maybe has better food), people are just making their decision based on the decision of others.
Somewhat related is the effect of culture. From the poll in my other article, we find that the majority of MFC users are from the USA. Dutch sociologist Geert Hofstede breaks culture down into five dimensions (as seen below) and in the individualism dimension the USA ranks on the higher extreme. So, I've been expecting that most of you guys are invulnerable to the herd bias ^^.View spoilerHide spoiler
https://uploads.toptal.io/blog/image/123790/toptal-blog-image-1502375001383-120438933faf463892012abf2cf9cede.png


I think you make some good points here. There are cultural factors related to behavior.

Funny thing about that poll on the best online retailer is that I have never purchased from ANY of those places that were possible selections in the poll and I have bought 130+ figures. I wouldn't read too much into a poll like that because one problem with those types of polls is that I bet nearly everyone who voted didn't have sufficient purchases from all 5 of the sellers to make a fair comparison. Also, I've noticed that once you get some experience you tend to rely on a few sellers and ignore the rest. Some people even take the majority of their business to one seller and so they likely have heavy bias toward that seller and will give biased answers in a poll like that.
1 month ago
3pt
evenstar88 (1 month ago) #75772203I voted no, because if I was easily swayed into buying by crowds (or herd behaviour in Point 2), I would be collecting Fate figures by now. XD XD
Fair enough, can't argue with that one XD

Ayanah (1 month ago) #75772776Yes, but for me it's more of a question to which degree I'm beeing influenced.
I only buy figures of characters I love, so I won't buy a figure just because it's popular.
Also, I absolutely do love and cherish the figures I fell in love with regardless of whether they are appreciated by anybody else.
But yeah, if I'm already considering buying a new figure enthusiastic people and their joy can be contaminous. I'm mostly part of this community because I wanna share the love for my figures with others and I'm ready to get hyped up by the people out there.
Btw:
Me: votes YES
Sees: 80% voted NO
Me thinking: ...is there something wrong with my answer?
Talking about getting influenced by others haha xD

No, your answer is perfectly valid :D
Cheers!
1 month ago
2pt
Hi everyone, I've read all your comments.
Thank you for your inputs!

----

Miruna (1 month ago) #75772834snip
I like your thought process, thanks for your detailed analysis!

Kagamine_Len (1 month ago) #75791903The intuitive thinking and overconfidence thing makes me scratch my head. In the experiment people were right 80% of the time... isn't that actually showing that their confidence may be warranted. What were the sample questions? Peoples confidence tends to waver a bit more when the answer has significant impact, as opposed to a question they only marginally care about.
In regards to part about purchase and disappointment. What did you use as your finding source? Or are you just inferring data from point #3 to purchasing figures?

Hi, the experiment about overconfidence bias is from this journal titled "Knowing with Uncertainty: The Appropriateness of Extreme Confidence". The researchers actually did five experiments and the questions range from easy to difficult and covered various topics.

Regarding the disappointment, actually I was inspired by this article about Pulchra and its bad reputation. @Eccmy pointed out that it started from a twitter discussion where users complained about the stark difference between the prototype and the actual product. I think the majority is still reluctant to buy from them despite few commenters like @murialita said that their newer stuff is worth a second try. That brings us to point #2. Because most people stay away from FOTS, Pulchra, Griffon and the likes, we tend to follow them (irrespective of the motive).

dtindcarea (1 month ago) #75799765Leith, you are misattributing herd mentality to doing quantitative and qualitative research on a given figure. I've found that doing that research can make a big difference in avoiding buying disappointing figures and getting your money's worth.
Yes, first I got to admit I missed that point. @Miruna and others have said about the expensive nature of this hobby so doing research is a rational thing to do. Especially that people seem to focus on objective measures such as photos, etc. I think herd behavior is more apparent when we buy everyday products in a supermarket, in which there is little incentive to research beforehand.

When making point #2, actually I was thinking more from the first time collectors' point of view rather than the seasoned ones. On this end of year article by @galablue, one shop win by a very large margin so there may be some reason outside their excellent service. I guessed many first-time buyers choose the popular one and stick with them if it's satisfactory enough. It's similar to the phenomenon in which people tend to choose a crowded restaurant rather than the empty one. While it seems that the decision is a rational one (the busier one maybe has better food), people are just making their decision based on the decision of others.

Somewhat related is the effect of culture. From the poll in my other article, we find that the majority of MFC users are from the USA. Dutch sociologist Geert Hofstede breaks culture down into five dimensions (as seen below) and in the individualism dimension the USA ranks on the higher extreme. So, I've been expecting that most of you guys are invulnerable to the herd bias ^^.

https://uploads.toptal.io/blog/image/123790/toptal-blog-image-1502375001383-120438933faf463892012abf2cf9cede.png
1 month ago
3pt
I send pictures to my friends and ask things like "Which face best fits ____?" or "This figure's really expensive, help me justify the price tag!" so in that way, people's opinions influence my purchases.

But at the end of the day I buy what I like, no matter who says what. I've got figures from series that none of my friends are into. They're for me to enjoy, after all.
1 month ago
3pt
I watch a ton of figure reviews.
the reviewer's opinion does not matter to me, I'm able to determine myself if I will like the toy by the closeup shots and seeing the range of movement.
but all of the above doesn't change the fact that I'm only buying figures of characters that I like in the first place. so no and no.
1 month ago
3pt
Herd behavior happens when you expect other people to see/know about your decision and want to avoid disappointing them. Your clothes, your hairstyle, your car and things like that.
Figures aren't, unless you share your room with other people, no one except you (or your family) will ever see them. So it's not applicable.

Having a reason to decide, yes that's a thing but it can go either way. "I'll buy this to avoid spending another 10 hours thinking about whether I should buy it or not" is one thing I sometimes do if I fail to find any other reason to decide one way or another - the fact I was even considering buying the figure is enough proof that I'm interested in buying one. Considering I don't buy expensive figures, I rather regret wasting $20 than wasting a lot of time then buying the figure anyway or regret missing out on it.
It's common sense though, if you don't have a reason to decide, why would you? Such a decision is no better than flipping a coin.
1 month ago
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