- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
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.
See more ScienceShots.