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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Radiohead Was Right
23 April 2012 3:00 pm
Letting customers decide how much to pay for a product seems like a surefire way to go out of business, although bands like Radiohead have used the strategy with limited success. So does it really work? To find out, scientists tested pay-what-you-want (PWYW) pricing in three experiments. In the first, some boat tour riders were given the option to pay $15 for a photo of themselves, while others were asked for $5, and still others were asked for PWYW. More people bought photos under the $5 plan, about 64%, than when they could name their own price, about 55%. (Only 23% opted for the $15 photos.) Scientists think that when people have to decide on a fair price, fear of looking cheap keeps some from purchasing altogether, they report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In a second trial, researchers found that attendees at an amusement park paid five times more for a photo of themselves on a ride (such as the one above) under PWYW pricing if told that half the proceeds would go to charity. And in the third experiment, guests at a restaurant with PWYW pricing either paid someone directly for their meal or paid anonymously by slipping money into a box near the door on their way out. Customers paid about 13% more when they were anonymous than when they paid someone directly. In all cases, the team says, PWYW seems to work because we want to feel good about ourselves when doing it.
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