Traditional (explicit) questions have dominated research for years. Examples of these question types include a rating (e.g. 1 through 5), ‘yes or no’ or ‘fill in the blank’ responses. For these types of questions, respondents use conscious, deliberative cognitive processes to make selections influenced by factors that may not be operative when actual real-world decisions occur. Feelings and preferences are often self-censored based on social and self-image considerations, especially when dealing with sensitive or emotionally evocative media or concepts. In addition, there is little assurance that all questions are receiving full attention. Reactor supports traditional survey questions along with the ability to combine traditional, fast explicit and implicit exercises into a single test to unearth deeper nonconscious emotional and motivational associations.
The Findability test above is one of several Fast Explicit tests supported in Reactor. Limiting the time available for answering questions drives respondents to rely less on rational deliberation. Precise timing of responses provides a deeper understanding of assuredness and conviction(choosing relatively quickly) vs. hesitancy and ambivalence (choosing relatively slowly). Like untimed surveys, this method does not ensure that each item is receiving the respondent’s full attention.
With fully implicit testing like the Implicit test above, respondents are forced to select a “correct” answer quickly each time. The answer in the test above was a sort to either Positive or Negative. Respondents must pay close attention to be successful, and no deliberation or formation of an opinion is required. Timing these responses reveals the respondent’s underlying nonconscious associative neural networks. They are quickly exposed to an audio or visual stimulus (e.g. claims, logo, video, package design, sound) followed by a sorting task that requires correctly matching a presented word or image, often called targets, to one of two categories, which are also called poles. In the test above, the targets and the poles were both the words Positive and Negative, and the task was simply to sort the word Positive to the Positive pole and to sort the word Negative to the Negative pole. The stimuli shown before each sorting task were various product packages. Any stimuli can be tested against any set of targets and poles. There is always only one correct answer and it is obvious which one is correct – no thinking is required to perform the sort correctly. Subtle but consistent reaction time differences reveal the underlying associations that drive evaluative decisions.