IFF Seminar: The Truth About Research – How to uncover what people really think?

“The trouble with research is that people don’t think how they feel, they don’t say what they think and they don’t do what they say.” David Ogilvy

Trying to understand what people really think and how they behave goes to the very heart of research and analysis. Yet research often requires people to respond in a prescribed way through a structured questionnaire, for example, or an artificial focus group environment.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we find that people can often give answers that are ‘socially desirable’ or designed to save face. They are optimistic about plans and intentions but not realistic about future behaviour. How far are they being actively deceptive and how far are they deceiving themselves?

This has been a challenge to researchers since the modern industry evolved, and as an industry we have proposed many tools, techniques and tests to help us to get closer to “the truth”. Never has the challenge been greater than in these days where people more commonly and routinely manage different identities / uphold different versions of themselves across different media, and where digital media tools, automation and AI all come together to challenge the notion of a single truth.

This event seeks to discover the truth about research; in doing what we do, in the way we do it are we uncovering “the truth”, the partial truth or everything but the truth?

Can you handle the truth? 

This is the fourth event in IFF’s seminar series which focuses on challenges and opportunities for the world of research and analysis. Attendees have the chance to discuss the psychology of truth and lies and to take away some practical ideas on how to gather more accurate and ‘truthful’ data.


Rowan Foster (Director, IFF Research).


  • Caspar Berry (Professional Poker Player and Expert in Human Behaviour) will be sharing insights into how and why people lie and how to detect the truth.
  • Nick Chater (Professor of Behavioural Science, Warwick Business School) will consider both simple and complex methods to encourage truthfulness.
  • Alex Gordon (CEO, Sign Salad) will be exploring how people’s attitudes, beliefs and truths are influenced by culture, signs and symbols.
  • Katie Oldfield (Director at IFF Research) will further interpret the practical implications for research design and delivery.

Once the panel have spoken we will open the floor to the audience for questions and debate.

Register your interest by following the link here