In an article for The New York Times, Charles Duhigg takes an in-depth look at how companies collect vast amounts of personal information and use predictive analytics to advertise products to individuals before they know they want them. "A retailer's holy grail" comes when an individual's buying habits are in flux the most--the time around the birth of a child. An analyst working for one retailer told Duhigg, "We knew if we could identify them in the second trimester, there's a good chance we could capture them for years." Habit formation has become a large field of research in medical centers and universities, the report states. "We're living through a golden age of behavioral research," said a representative from Predictive Analytics World. "It's amazing how much we can figure out about how people think now." (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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