Business

Consumers base buying decisions on “informed herd effect” influenced by what others like them say about the product, marketing researchers find.

18
December
2019

How consumers decide to purchase a product depends more on the experiences others have with the product than the actual product itself, according to a pair of University of Alberta marketing studies that looked into the social forces that created the frenzy of Cabbage Patch Kids in the ’80s, Tickle Me Elmo in the ‘90s and the Nintendo Wii in 2008.

In an attempt to replicate and observe these phenomena, U of A marketing expert Paul Messinger and his team gave a group of people a list of times for two types of exercise classes—the tried-and-true Power Pilates and Energy Nia, a fictitious version of a lesser-known program, which was stated to have limited availability because of a fabricated popularity.

Despite having never heard of Energy Nia, participants in the study eagerly signed up for the remaining openings.

Messinger expl...

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18
February
2020
| 16:44 America/Tegucigalpa

Agricultural ‘mini-internship’ gives U of A students hands-on career experience

Three-day placements during Reading Week offer a taste of in-demand jobs in fields like food safety and animal welfare.

For most University of Alberta students, Reading Week is a break from the books, spent lounging around the house in pyjamas or on the ski hill. For Faith Jensen, it’s about happily probing the
13
February
2020
| 15:06 America/Tegucigalpa

Major investment from Shell helps U of A biofuel spinoff company build commercial-scale production plant

New facility is expected to produce 25 million litres of renewable biofuels annually.

Forge Hydrocarbons, a University of Alberta spinoff company producing renewable gasoline and diesel, has received a major investment from Shell Ventures to help build a $30-million, industrial-scale
13
February
2020
| 13:50 America/Tegucigalpa

Proper-fitting fire-retardant workwear for women being developed at U of A

Heavy equipment operator enlists help of textile scientists to develop garments expected to hit the market this year.

After bulky, ill-fitting coveralls caused her to have some near-misses in her job as a heavy equipment operator, Jess Black decided to take matters into her own hands and create a line of clothing
29
January
2020
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Letting your child pick their snack may help you eat better, study suggests

New research could offer “effective, simple recipe” for parents looking to make healthier food choices for their families.

Giving in to your kid’s desire for an unhealthy snack may improve your own eating choices, a new University of Alberta study shows. The research, published in Appetite, showed that parents and
03
January
2020
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Why having robot co-workers might make you less prejudiced

When robot co-workers are the out-group, human workers become less prejudiced against other humans, researchers find.

Automation is changing America. Robots already operate rescue missions and build our cars, and they may soon be assisting in surgery and teaching our children. As many as 73 million American jobs
18
December
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

10 student stories that inspired us in 2019

U of A students showed their class this year with excellence under pressure, resilience in the face of adversity and ingenious ideas.

1. Widower’s search for cancer cure takes surprising turn After losing his wife to a rare type of ovarian cancer 10 years ago, Powel Crosley vowed to cure the disease. Now, after graduating with a
16
December
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Pine trees with larger resin ducts better able to survive mountain pine beetle attack

Discovery could help regenerate pine stands blighted by beetle attacks.

Not all pine trees are created equal when it comes to fending off their mortal enemy, the mountain pine beetle. A new University of Alberta study shows that lodgepole pine trees with larger resin
05
December
2019
| 19:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Edmonton company headed by U of A cancer researcher secures $109M partnership to create new inflammatory disease therapies

Work will accelerate other University of Alberta research to create new drugs to block the spread of cancer.

An Edmonton company headed by a University of Alberta cancer researcher is developing new therapies to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases thanks to a $109-million research and collaboration
28
November
2019
| 19:50 America/Tegucigalpa

How retail peer pressure drives Black Friday in Canada

Early holiday sales may be a boon for consumers but put pressure on retailers’ profit margins, say experts.

Despite the booming sales that happen on Black Friday, most Canadian retailers would rather not discount heavily this time of year, because, all else being equal, they could sell a lot of product at
08
November
2019
| 13:50 America/Tegucigalpa

Who buys the wine? Research reveals how consumers make choices for groups

People who see themselves as independent tend to go with their own preference when choosing for a large group—even if it costs more.

When tasked with making choices for a big group, like selecting wine for the table, independent people typically make choices that more strongly reflect their own preferences, according to a new
30
October
2019
| 13:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Opioid crisis has cost Canada nearly $5 billion in lost productivity, U of A student finds

Economics student estimates financial toll of a drug epidemic that has claimed more than 11,000 lives since 2016.

Canada is losing at least $4.7 billion in labour productivity as a result of the opioid crisis, according to recent calculations by a University of Alberta undergraduate student in