Cognitive Features of Real Estate Advertising and the Cognitive Dissonance It Causes

By Ralph Knight,2014-01-15 10:26
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Cognitive Features of Real Estate Advertising and the Cognitive Dissonance It CausesReal,and,the,real,The

    Cognitive Features of Real Estate Advertising

    and the Cognitive Dissonance It Causes


    With its particular features, real estate advertising has special effects on consumers’ cognition. To look through the process of home buyers’ cognition we can

    see how does the real estate advertising functions. One of the major cognitive, also psychological, change is cognitive dissonance. To know how the cognitive dissonance functions and how to reduce the influence of it can give us tips in when dealing with real estate issues and etc.

    Key words

    real estate, cognition, cognitive dissonance


    As the fast development of Chines economy going on, the industry of real estate has witnessed a soaring increase. Real estate advertising is filling the eyes of home consumers. In consequence, there is enough significance to look through how they catch our eyes and take our money, and is there any necessary to limit it. 2.Real estate advertising

    2.1 definition

    Advertising or advertising is a form of communication for marketing and used to encourage or persuade an audience (viewers, readers or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to continue or take some new action. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common. In Latin, ad vertere means “to turn the mind toward.”The purpose of advertising may also be to reassure employees or shareholders that a company is viable or successful. It is viewed via various traditional media, including mass media such as newspaper, magazines, television commercial,radio advertisement, outdoor advertising or direct mail; or new media such as blogs, websites or text messages.[1] Real estate advertising is a kind of advertising that gives information about the real estates on presell, order, on sale, for rent, and introduction to other properties,often published by real estate enterprises, estate proprietors and real estate agencies. Non-business advertising related to selling, renting and house-swapping published individually by residents are not included.[2] 2.2 features

    Compared with advertising in other fields, real estate advertising has its own features. First and foremost, humanity. Real estate advertising tries its best to attach the products--the houses to humanities. In other words, it mainly focuses on forming an idea in the potential buyers’ mind about what you will be like in the house rather than what the house is. Secondly, timeliness. A piece of real estate advertising is more

    often than not functioning only for a rather short period of time, compared with those of some other products like cola, whose advertising can function as long as it is on shelf. Estate enterprises expect to see a soon income even several days after the ads’

    publishment, or the information conveyed by the advertising will be out of date in the high-dynamic real estate market. Thirdly, locality. Commonly, a property company is more willing to advertise in local media. For example, an enterprise in Guangzhou will do more advertising in newspapers like Southern Metropolis Daily than publications like Xiaoxiang Morning Paper.

    3.recognition to real estate advertising

    3.1 home buyers’ perspective

    Undoubtedly, we all have that kind of experience: when we are on the way home, our attention is drew by the newly set real estate ads brand unconsciously, even though we pretentiously avoid them. For sure, they, the advertising, have a strange power. Occasionally, one or two pieces of super-big picture catch our eyes and pause our feet; or they slip into our deep brain. Only when next time we come across another advertising, they rise up again. Then we will, also unconsciously, judge the two different ads. The impression of the preferable one becomes deeper. That is how those foxy enterprisers manage to control us and our money.

    3.2 transfer of attention

    Some cognition scientists conclude the success of strategy as a transfer of attention. Everyday we gather information form all walks of life, but few remain in mind. Why a piece of advertising “squeeze” in our mind? According to related psychological theories after the 19th century, it must pass the gate through the help of attention. In terminology, attention is an optional possession of information outside of mind, which means processing a part of them while ignoring the other one. To put it another way, attention is like a beam of light. Where it goes can be observed, while other places are forgotten. They are two ways to generate the light: we can generate it ourselves. For example, we are looking for some snacks in midnight. The chocolate is the light. It scans over cracks, seeds, and instant noodles, and doesn’t extinguish until it lightens the chocolate. Also, it can be generated by the outside world. Another example of chocolate: we open the snack drawer and see a bar seems so cute in a pile of bags. Thus the light penetrates into the mind: “ That’s it, chocolate!”

    According to this theory, a piece of successful advertising is a particular stimulation that can drive an intention transfer of an absent-minded consumer, thus changes his alternatives. Just as we tend to turn our head to a big advertising brand with a charming woman printed. Our value choices to specific things depends on how we know them. There are three steps to make a decision: listing items, assigning values to items, comprehensive evaluating in order to make the most advantageous choice. It is the second step that is affected by attention transfer. This dull theory has a most vivid example in life: a common bag of salt becomes the best seller as soon as people know it resist radiation. It tells us that intention transfer changes information, then information changes value, even if it is blind focus and wrong information.

    As illustrated above, real estate enterprisers spare no effort to attach humanity elements to advertising. What they are really doing is assigning more value-- the most

    precious one-- human to the products, property. Influenced by the exquisite pictures, we are more likely to consider us as persons on them. Looking at a district named Century Apartment, we are possibly driven by a feeling of living nobly with middle-class people in it.

    For sure, as strangers to those cold steel and concrete, home buyers are possible to be confused by the colorful advertising to make wrong decisions. However, buying a house or an apartment is not a small investment for any ordinary family. So what if we are cheated and can’t do any redeem at the moment? What happens to our cognition then?

    4. cognitive dissonance theory in real estate.

    4.1 definition

    The term cognitive dissonance was coined in 1957 by social scientist Leon Feistinger to describe the uncomfortable tension which results from a person having two conflicting thoughts at the same time. Feistinger’s idea is mainly about that when the mind is supplied with evidence which contradicts strongly beliefs already in mind, the mind acquires or invents new information in order to justify the belief. [3]

    It is a distressing mental state in which people feel they "find themselves doing things that don’t fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold." Festinger considered the human need to avoid dissonance to be as basic as the need for safety or the need to satisfy hunger. It is an aversive drive that goads us to be consistent. The tension of dissonance motivates people to change either their behavior or belief in an effort to avoid a distressing feeling. [6]

    The most famous example of cognitive dissonance is from Aesop’s Fables. “One

    hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the things to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a

    jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.” So it is easy to despise what you can not get. For human, when we desire something, we either find access to get them or find some excuse to tell us it is not that fits us.

    4.2 how cognitive dissonance functions

    One way businessmen might use cognitive dissonance is to get people to invest significant time, energy, and participation with something in order to create dissonance then provide a simple and immediate way for them to relieve this dissonance. [4]

    When people feel cognitive dissonance it makes them uncomfortable which increases their motivation to reduce that discomfort.They might reduce the tension by lessening it’s importance, adding new beliefs that help ease the conflict, or changing

    their initial thoughts.When incentives are motivating the conflict resolution, people will usually change beliefs if the incentive are small, and hold onto existing beliefs and justify the conflict when the incentive is large.[4]

    A home buyer falls in love with a home and want to take out the maximum loan

    she will be offered. She knows that to buy a home can be quite risky for one’s finances. She then decides that most people have dreams that mean a lot personally, so it’s okay to sometimes just go for what you want- and this was one of those times

    Cognitive-dissonance is just one of many biases that work in our everyday lives. We don’t like to believe that we may be wrong, so we may limit our intake of new information or thinking about things in ways that don’t fit within our pre-existing

    beliefs. Psychologists call this “confirmation bias.”We also don’t like to second-guess

    our choices, even if later they are proven wrong or unwise. By second-guessing ourselves, we suggest we may not be as wise or as right as we’ve led ourselves to

    believe. This may lead us to commit to a particular course of action and become insensitive to and reject alternative, perhaps better, courses that come to light. That’s why many people seek to avoid or minimize regret in their lives, and seek “closure”

     imposing a definitive end to an event or relationship. It reduces the possibility of future cognitive dissonance.

    4.3 ways to reduce cognitive dissonance

    To put it simple, to reduce cognitive dissonance, all that should be done is to compromise either to our mind or action. First, to change the cognition to one’s action. It works before one start to make a decision or perform an action. For example, an itching buyer will ceaselessly persuade himself to find any reason to support the could-be stupid decision to believe the advertising. Second, to alter one’s practise. Offered enough “reasonable” elements, one will make his decision sometimes with irreversible cost. In this process, one still has chances to decide whether to follow his sense or sentiment. Finally, to change the cognition to the result of his action. In this stage, the decision has already brought its due effect. In order to make himself more comfortable dealing with the result, one will unconsciously avoid receiving information producing thoughts that are not supporting his decision. The simplest example of it is a family in a new house will say anything to boast their house even though it nearly cost all they have and is rather ugly.


    Real estate advertising, as a kind of advertising, is a double-edged sword: on one han it can give us more information about newly built apartments; on the other hand, it really confuse us on making rational decisions. One of the uncomfortable feeling it gives us is cognitive dissonance. We all suffer form it in our daily life and try our best to relieve it. However cognitive dissonance is misleading, it is not always something bad. On admitting we all experience that all the time, we need to let it go or even initially employ it sometimes, especially to change some bad attitudes and behaviors. References:







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