GRBN’s effort to understand and improve global panelists’ research experience is already bearing fruit for its research partners, each of whom has a meaningful stake in the outcome as we seek improved data quality and global participation rates, ultimately to the benefit of our end-clients. Sentient Decision Science volunteered our global implicit research platform, Sentient Prime®, to measure the non-conscious emotional appeal of and attitudinal responses toward specific survey components. These intuitive responses are typical of those that drive engagement, but that participants may have difficulty articulating reliably in response to explicit questions.

Collecting a 6,000-respondent sample across 12 countries is a familiar but substantial undertaking, so it’s rewarding that after completing the first round of data analysis we already see meaningful—and actionable—differences not only in the self-reported quality of respondents’ past research participation experiences and attitudes toward the brands behind those projects, but also in implicit responses to the kinds of survey components they find most appealing, effortful, fun, or straightforward.

We’ve already begun putting these insights to work by managing the balance of survey components deployed across markets, to increase engagement and completion rates. For example, consistent with the explicit results reported elsewhere in this newsletter, the average global respondent finds all survey components emotionally appealing (the most reliable implicit attitudinal predictor of engagement), while respondents in Japan and China found all survey components to be much more fun than people in other countries. At the same time, Chinese respondents also found all survey components far more effortful (less easy) than other groups.


This difference agrees with explicit responses in terms of the number of panels Japanese and Chinese respondents have joined, but not in terms of Chinese respondents’ lower rates of reporting financial motivations to participate—it seems intuitively correct to expect that those who find surveys more effortful might be more focused on compensation, which we did not see in China. The implicit and explicit results together provide an explanation of these response patterns: despite the increase in perceived effort, Chinese respondents found all survey components strongly appealing. In addition, their explicit statements that surveys make them feel closer to companies, as well as their tendency to recommend survey participation at higher rates than the Japanese, indicate that non-monetary rewards compensate for the differential in perceived survey effort. The smaller number of signups and the much smaller proportion of Chinese respondents who have been taking surveys for more than 3 years (22%, vs. 71% in Japan) therefore seems less like the result of poor survey experiences and more like a consequence of the difficulty in reliably reaching Chinese survey respondents in past years—indeed, the proliferation of smartphones in the Chinese market and the simultaneous growth of mobile survey platforms has made this task easier each year. We look forward to sharing a deeper analysis of this learning at IIeX EU, as well as many more insights into research experiences across the 12 countries studied, specific views of male and female respondents, the three generations of respondents sampled in each country, and more.

Cyrus H. McCandless, Ph.D.
Director of Behavioral Science







Dr. Cyrus H. McCandless is Director of Behavioral Science at Sentient Decision Science, Inc. and has spent the last decade translating research methods, technologies and insights from the neurosciences and experimental psychology into deep, actionable understanding of human behavior and decision-making under real-world conditions.