Seven deadly sins: Envy – neuromarketing
Envy and desire are strong emotions that influence our product choice, and can be harnessed in marketing campaigns. Scientific advances in the areas of neuroscience and psychology have the power to revolutionise the marketing industry. Neuromarketing is a relatively new area that uses neuroscientific techniques to study consumer’s responses to marketing stimuli. Advocates of neuromarketing techniques propose that this allows marketers to accurately monitor consumer preferences at a subconscious level and to understand their decision making. So how much science is there behind neuromarketing? Will these advances reveal a human “buy button”, or are these fears unfounded?
Hosted by ABC’s Natasha Mitchell, our objective panel — Peter Reiner, Phil Harris, and Shane G Moon — discussed the science, industry impact, and ethical considerations of this new field. Make up your own mind and take advantage of this opportunity to question the experts.
Videos from the event:
Phil Harris: What is neuromarketing?
Shane G Moon & Panel discussion
Q&A hosted by Natasha Mitchell
Learn more about neuromarketing:
Marshall, A (2010) Neuroscience and Marketing – New Frontiers?
Loiacono, C (2009) Can brain science manipulate consumers?, University of British Columbia
Sutherland, M. (2007) Neuromarketing: What’s It All About?
Article by Judy Illes – Triggering a human buy button – the ethical concerns
Blog by Sarah Keenihan from Bridge8 – Neuromarketing: teach your children well
Video – How does fMRI works? The use of fMRI technology in neuromarketing research is explained more in this short video, courtesy of Dr Philip Harris and the University of Melbourne .
fMRI in neuromarketing
One of the fundamentals goals of neuroeconomics and neuromarketing research is to understand how people make decisions. Research which identifies brain regions that are involved when decisions are made can provide important insights into the decision-making process. One important method used in neuromarketing research is functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or fMRI. MRI is a diagnostic method for generating cross sectional images of the human body. This method is based on the interaction between the human body and powerful externally generated magnetic fields. An MRI scan provides an image of the structure of a research participant’s brain. However what an MRI doesn’t reveal is which parts of the brain are involved in different types of thinking. For this researchers examine changes in MRI responses that occur when different parts of the brain are involved in performing a task. These changes in MRI responses are identified by using functional MRI research techniques. To learn which areas of the brain are activated in particular types of decision making, a research participant performs a task during an fMRI scan which involves the specific kind of decision-making the researchers are interested in. The task will involve a number of decisions that involve the same type of thinking process, such as choosing between two different rewards. Functional MRI images captured during the task show brain regions that require more oxygenated blood during the task. This data can then be used to link specific aspects of the decision-making task with those brain regions that were activated during the task. In this manner, brain regions that play important roles in different types of decision-making processes can be identified.
In the Media:
Shane G Moon from ‘Inner Truth’ on A Current Affair
Kirsner, S (2010) ‘Marketers literally want to take consumers’ pulse’, The Boston Globe
Singer, N (2010) ‘Making Ads That Whisper to the Brain’, The New York Times
Heneghan, T (2007) ‘Brain reader triggers call for neuroethics’, ABC Science
Singer, E (2010) ‘Predicting Consumer Choices with Neuroeconomics’, Technology Review
Horstman, M (2011) ‘Envy under the microscope, Our World Today