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” Pole has a master’s degree in statistics and another in economics, and has been obsessed with the intersection of data and human behavior most of his life. Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that?There are rooms with tiny scalpels, small drills and miniature saws. The maze was structured so that each animal was positioned behind a barrier that opened after a loud click.
But Target sells everything from milk to stuffed animals to lawn furniture to electronics, so one of the company’s primary goals is convincing customers that the only store they need is Target.It’s amazing how much we can figure out about how people think now.” The reason Target can snoop on our shopping habits is that, over the past two decades, the science of habit formation has become a major field of research in neurology and psychology departments at hundreds of major medical centers and universities, as well as inside extremely well financed corporate labs.“It’s like an arms race to hire statisticians nowadays,” said Andreas Weigend, the former chief scientist at One of those moments — the moment, really — is right around the birth of a child, when parents are exhausted and overwhelmed and their shopping patterns and brand loyalties are up for grabs.
But as Target’s marketers explained to Pole, timing is everything.
This research is also transforming our understanding of how habits function across organizations and societies. to the Super Bowl by focusing on how his players habitually reacted to on-field cues.