Editor’s note: Based in Hoboken, N.J., Sean O'Connor is a manager at global consumer insights agency SKIM.

Marketers are realizing that the rapidly changing digital landscape requires new methods to accurately assess how today’s consumers think and behave. To evoke everyday uses of mobile technology, these new methods should be engaging, replacing deliberate questions with fast-paced, intuitive exercises.

In Asian cultures, for example, using mobile research that leverages response latencies can help reduce biases that are prevalent in traditional research techniques, providing a more accurate representation of consumers’ true preferences.

Not better left unsaid

Many Asian cultures are characterized by high context effects. In other words, in social settings much is unsaid. Acquiescence and embeddedness are also prevalent in these societies and can distort survey findings. These effects are known as acquiescent response style (ARS) and socially desirable responses (SDR). ARS is the tendency to agree with propositions in general, regardless of their content, while SDR is defined as the propensity of respondents to answer questions in a manner that they expect will be viewed favorably by others. These effects are particularly strong when deliberate judgments are sought and questions are administered by an interviewer who is physically present.

Over the past two decades, psychological research has deepened our understanding of human decision-making and raised serious questions about widely-accepted research techniques. Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, published in 2011, is probably the most significant popularizer of the “dual processing of information” theory, in which System 1 refers to fast, automatic and intuitive judgments and System 2 is slower and more analytical processing. The distinction is significant but the systems often work together and considering either in isolati...