Post Credits

This synopsis was originally published on Code Sport in December 2015. It is based on an April 2015 post from Nick Kolenda. It was inspired by a student I interviewed in December 2015 for a software engineering and teaching internship with Code Sport.

Our brains encode numbers so quickly (and beyond consciousness) that we encode the size of a number before we finish reading it. Thomas and Morwitz (2005) explain that:

“…while evaluating “2.99,” the magnitude encoding process starts as soon as our eyes encounter the digit “2.” Consequently, the encoded magnitude of $2.99 gets anchored on the leftmost digit (i.e., $2) and becomes significantly lower than the encoded magnitude of $3.00” (pp. 55).
avoid rounded price intervals (e.g., $100, $5,000). People assume that those prices are artificially higher, as if they were plucked from thin air (Janiszewski & Uy, 2008).

If your purchase is based on rationale, then add some cents.

People will perceive your price to be lower if it contains fewer syllables. Even if two prices have the same written length (e.g., $27.82 vs. $28.16), people perceive the phonetically shorter price to be lower in magnitude.