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...

Headlines

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
29
October
2019
| 13:00 America/Tegucigalpa

New technique could help decontaminate oilsands process water

Method developed by U of A engineering researchers removes one of the main contaminants in water used for bitumen extraction.

New technology developed by engineers at the University of Alberta shows potential in cleaning and decontaminating process water from oilsands production. The process relies on ozonation and
24
October
2019
| 19:59 America/Tegucigalpa

U of A spinoff company recognized for research to unlock anti-cancer drugs

Meros Polymers among spinoffs and U.S. patent holders celebrated at business incubator TEC Edmonton’s annual event.

A University of Alberta spinoff company looking to unlock an entire class of non-water-soluble drug options—including a number of anti-cancer drugs—was recognized at the TEC Edmonton 2019 Innovation
10
October
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Scientists find recipe for greener garden waste disposal

Adding manure and crop leftovers to leaves and clippings helps earthworms digest them—and speeds up composting by 80 per cent, researchers find.

Scientists have developed a recipe that addresses a growing need for sustainable disposal of urban garden waste in China and could also be useful in North America. In Beijing, where the research
26
September
2019
| 17:00 America/Tegucigalpa

Recycling salty water could help control detrimental microbes in Alberta drill sites

Study of two drill sites in Alberta suggests recycling saline water produced by hydraulic fracturing affects microbial growth below ground.

Recycling salty water produced from hydraulic fracturing may be effective for managing microbes at well sites in Alberta, according to a new study by University of Alberta scientists that could help