Science & Tech

Professor’s survey method opens ‘windows of consciousness’

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State-of-the-art marketing research being conducted at Business School

Bringing together theories and tools from disciplines ranging from psychology to neuroscience, the Mind of the Market Laboratory at Harvard Business School attempts to define and qualify consumers’ and managers’ thoughts and feelings about an array of ideas, from “loyalty” to “privacy” to “chocolate.” The work is spearheaded by the lab’s co-director, Gerald Zaltman, whose patented interview method, the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET), is the foundation of the MML’s data-gathering process. “What we’re doing is using metaphors, idiomatic expressions of consumers, as vehicles for them to transport what may exist below their level of awareness into a domain of awareness,” Zaltman says. “Basically, we help the consumer open windows into their own thinking. We encourage them to look in, and share with us what they see.”