The use of technology

In addition to taking an innovative approach to addressing current issues, we often seek different methods as well. Many times, these methods involve innovative technology such as an Instant Response Device to conduct live experiments with large groups of participants or functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to measure blood flows through various parts of the brain to learn why people behave the way they do. We have also used an Electroencephalograph (EEG), a device placed on the participant’s scalp, to measure electrical activity in various parts of the brain to measure voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows. This allows us to better understand what mental functions are being performed when people make real estate related decisions. We have even coupled EEG with ocular tracking technology and physiological response measures such as Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and an Electrocardiogram (ECG). In sum, we hope to expand knowledge of human behavior as it relates to the field of real estate by applying new technology and new ways of thinking about current issues in the field of real estate.

Why does IBERE conduct experiments?

The best way to understand human behavior is to observe actual decision-makers making real decisions. However, this is not always possible given the private nature of some decisions and behaviors. In the real world, thousands of economic variables occur simultaneously which makes it very difficult to truly isolate and differentiate the impact of one factor from another. Alternatively, in a controlled experiment, we are able to hold everything else constant and apply theories with surgical precision to dissect and discern the influence of one variable from another. While experiments are not ideal in all research settings, IBERE tends to focus on research questions that do lend themselves to experimental design.

What is the cost to conduct an experiment?

The cost to conduct an experiment varies tremendously from one study to the next depending on the type of study being conducted and the sample size. If we pull our sample from a national database and conduct the experiment on-line, the costs can be as low as $2 per participant. In situations where we need to compensate individuals for their participation in a study, it is not uncommon to pay an individual up to $50. In these research settings, sample sizes tend to be smaller and more time intensive. To learn the cost to commission a particular study by IBERE, please call the Lead Consultant, Dr. Michael J. Seiler at 757.585.6100 or e-mail at mseiler@ibere.org.

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