Behavioral Sciences

behavioral-sciences

Our unique investigations into consumer behavior often take the form of field experiments with “real-life” Disney guests and customers. More recent projects have begun to shift to the intersection of technology (particularly mobile) and consumer behavior. We also study other aspects of the media consumption experience. Our goals are to enhance guest satisfaction, test new business models, and further Disney’s aims around social consciousness and sustainability.

Projects

Distant Speech Interface for Language Interaction

Positive consumer interactivity in crowded locations presents a number of challenges, especially when auditory cues are crucial to understanding the customer’s needs. The goal of this project is to build a distant speech recognition (DSR) system that can extract words from a speech signal in situations where wearing a close-talk microphone would be impractical or intrusive.

Encouraging Proactive Environmental Responsibility

Influencing sustainable behavior is an ongoing challenge in consumer behavior research. We ran a large field experiment to examine how choosing to commit to practice sustainable behavior influenced hotel guests’ compliance with eco-friendly behavior during their stay. Results show that specific commitments coupled with a public symbol significantly increased participation in towel reuse.

In-theater Mobile Marketing

We are investigating purchase behavior as a function of temporal proximity to a cinema viewing experience.

Mobile Apps for Mitigating Theme-Park Crowding

Long wait-times for rides and restaurants are major sources of visitor dissatisfaction with theme parks. Crowding is often worse than it needs to be because park visitors distribute themselves unevenly. We tested a novel method of routing visitors to less-crowded areas by offering them well-timed incentives and information on mobile devices. The results indicate that a system such as ours can mitigate sub-optimal crowd distribution in real-time in a theme park environment.

Perceptually Motivated Guidelines for Voice Synchronization in Film

In this work, we focus on voice synchronization, an aspect of video quality that is strongly affected by current post-production and transmission practices. We examined the synchronization of an actor’s voice and lip movements in two distinct scenarios. First, we simulated the temporal mismatch between the audio and video tracks that can occur during dubbing or during broadcast. Next, we recreated the pitch changes that result from conversions between formats with different frame rates.

Seeding the Cinema Experience in the Developing World

Our research focuses on the distribution of entertainment content in developing countries through a network of local micro-entrepreneurs and the use of a specially designed “cinema-in-a-backpack”. Partnering with two non-profit organization in Central America, we equipped micro-entrepreneurs with mobile cinemas. We evaluated their different approaches to launching and running a cinema business where none had existed before.

Shared Social Responsibility

We conducted field experiments that tested ‘Pay-What-You-Want’ pricing coupled with charitable revenue sharing and found a triple-win for consumers, business and charity. Switching from corporate social responsibility to what we term ‘shared social responsibility’ works, in part, because customized contributions allow customers to directly express social welfare concerns through the purchasing of material goods.
Our unique investigations into consumer behavior often take the form of field experiments with “real-life” Disney guests and customers. More recent projects have begun to shift to the intersection of technology (particularly mobile) and consumer behavior. We also study other aspects of the media consumption experience. Our goals are to enhance guest satisfaction, test new business models, and further Disney’s aims around social consciousness and sustainability.