Handy heuristics that contradict convergence

“In general, the attribution of specialization can increase the credibility of a product or any kind of object,” Sundar says. “It’s really how the human psyche works.”

For instance, the search engine providing product recommendations was labeled “wine agent,” while the general recommendation agent was named “E Agent.”

“Basically, cognitive heuristics are mental shortcuts that we use to make judgments that lead to decisions,” Sundar says. “For example, we see a long essay, we immediately think that it is a strong essay. This is the ‘length equals strength’ heuristic. Similarly, we tend to quickly believe statements made by experts or specialists because we apply the ‘expertise heuristic,’ which says that experts’ statements can be trusted.”

via Name it and webbies will buy it – futurity.org

Interesting piece of SEO psychology. There are some intelligent comments on the study too – I especially liked the kitchen knives analogy made by Chris Edwards:

It is quite common for people to buy multiple tools that do the same job. As a simple example, look in your kitchen… how many different knives do you have for specialised tasks? If you lay them all out and logically look at it, how many different types do you actually need?

We assume that something that is specialised is better, so therefore if something sounds specialised, we will probably lean toward using that one.

(via & via)

Updated 2013.01.17 to tweak the formatting and to actually quote the kitchen knives comment rather than just allude to it.