Friday, 27 August 2010

Appliance of (neuro)science

I studied psychology many moons ago but I still like to see if anything I learned in those far-off days can be applied to my daily work. I also need to catch up with new developments.

Neuroscience seems to be one avenue that is opening up to marketeers these days. Martin Lindstrom's book Buyology uses findings from neuroimaging techniques and a number of media companies are dallying with the appliance of neuroscience.

The big boy amongst agencies who know their stuff when it comes to these techniques is Neurosense. They describe themselves as "a next generation consumer research enterprise" who use "applied neuroscience to see into the consumer's mind." Their website is well-worth a visit and I certainly intend to dig deeper into the subject.

However, however...I do hear a few faint warning bells which remind me of those that drove me away from Experimental and Cognitive Psychology all those years ago. The website describes "subjects" "performing a task" or "being subjected to marketing stimuli". This is the language of rats in cages, being given an electric shock as a punishment for not "performing a task".

I also wonder what creatives would say - particularly those critical of group discussions held in studios for being "unnatural" - to their precious "marketing stimulus" being "subjected" while "the consumer" lies in a brain scan machine in which they may not move their head more than 3mm and which may employ a bite bar to reduce motion.

I am all for progress, but I'll continue to use intuition and common sense in large doses along with the scientific evidence.

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