Psychophysics in Operations Research

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By: Debdulal Dutta Roy (from IFORS News March 2012)

Operations Research is used to optimize resources, bringing maximum benefit or minimum cost. This can happen when the multidimensional attributes of a product is manipulated in a manner that maximizes profit or minimizes cost. The change is assumed to satisfy the customer. Does it? Customer satisfaction has two aspects: his comprehension of the change and how this comprehension translates into his decision to buy the product. For example, a toothpaste manufacturer adds a few more grams of the product into a standard size and advertises the additional quantity for the same price. However, the customer does not feel the change in weight with the result that the strategy does not affect his purchasing behavior. This is where Psychophysics comes in.

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