Unconscious Purchasing Urges Revealed by Brain Scans

A neuroscience article from New Scientist covering purchasing urges and brain scans offers useful information to neuromarketing.  According to the research, brain scans revealed the purchasing intentions correctly nearly 75% of the time after initial images were presented.  An excerpt from New Scientist is offered below to get you started.

You spend more time window shopping than you may realise. Whether someone intends to buy a product or not can be predicted from their brain activity – even when they are not consciously pondering their choices.

The ability to predict from brain scans alone what a person intends to buy, while leaving the potential buyer none the wiser, could bring much-needed rigour to efforts to meld marketing and neuroscience, says Brian Knutson, a neuroscientist at Stanford University in California who was not involved in the research.

Neuromarketing, as this field is known, has been employed by drug firms, Hollywood studios and even the Campbell Soup Company to sell their wares, despite little published proof of its effectiveness.

Rather than soup, John-Dylan Haynes at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, Germany, attempted to predict which cars people might unconsciously favour. To do so, he and colleague Anita Tusche used functional MRI to scan the brains of two groups of male volunteers, aged 24 to 32, while they were presented with images of a variety of cars.

One group was asked to rate their impressions of the vehicles, while the second performed a distracting visual task while cars were presented in … (read more)

Source: New Scientist

Author: Ewen Callaway

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