Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Here’s how Uber uses psychology to convince you to pay higher prices

uber.jpg

It's Friday night. You've had one too many Jagerbombs and what remains of your sober consciousness is telling you to go home. 

There are two cabs waiting at a taxi rank - but given the time of night and the location, they're offering competitive 'surge' prices. One is two times her usual rate, the other is offering 2.1 times his usual rate. 

Which cab do you take?

"The first one, you condescending fool," is almost certainly your response. Yet this is exactly not what Uber has discovered. 

Head of Uber's economic research division Keith Chen revealed to NPR's Hidden Brain podcast that Uber has discovered a strong reaction to the "round number effect" on whether people are happy to accept paying more for a cab. When you look at all the data collected by Uber's vast network of users, it turns out we're more likely to accept a surge charge of 2.1 than 2.0.

"When you tell someone your trip is going to be two times what it would normally be, people think that is capricious and unfair – somebody just made that up," said Chen. "Whereas if you say your trip is going to be 2.1 times what it normally is they think there is some smart algorithm at work, it doesn’t seem quite so unfair."

Yep. Uber will offer you a price of 2.1 rather than 2.0 because some of the absolute worst kind of idiots out there have proven we're all more likely to accept 2.1 "because of the algorithms man".

Now if you'll excuse us, we'll be smashing our heads into our desks until the pain stops.

[Via: NPR]

Related

battery.jpg

Uber knows when your battery is dying and could use it against you

rexfeatures_5662057e.jpg

"I'll order you an Uber" - ShortList drinks gin with Patrick Stewart

uberrating.jpg

Here's how to find your Uber rating (...be careful what you wish for)

Comments

More

Super Mario in Grand Theft Auto is weird and awesome

Who would've thought Mario would get into a knife fight in a park?

by Jamie Carson
18 Jan 2017

The only Vines worth preserving

The most important cultural artefacts of our time

by Tristan Cross
17 Jan 2017

Hurrah: The Nintendo Switch now has a price and release date

Here's everything you need to know about the new console

by Tom Fordy
13 Jan 2017

The best underwater photographs of 2016 are staggeringly beautiful

Aquatic snaps that made a splash

by Dave Fawbert
12 Jan 2017

Using Google Maps actually does ruin your sense of direction

"Make a U-turn where possible"

by Dave Fawbert
11 Jan 2017

Netflix releases 8-bit game featuring Narcos and Stranger Things

Goodbye, productivity.

by Emily Badiozzaman
10 Jan 2017

The original Game Boy is coming back

Time to dust off your Pokemon Red & Blue cartridges

by Jamie Carson
10 Jan 2017

Watch Steve Jobs launch first iPhone 10 years ago

Today marks 10 years since Steve Jobs presented the world with this iconic product, but it could have been so different

09 Jan 2017

The best gadgets to launch at the biggest tech conference in the world

Christmas 2017 can't come early enough

by Joe Ellison
05 Jan 2017

This is why hitting the snooze button is bad for your health

If you snooze, you really do lose

03 Jan 2017