Ad men use brain scanners to probe our emotional response

Ad men use brain scanners to probe our emotional response - The Guardian“Pradeep says watching people’s brains via caps covered in electrodes or magnetic scanners that are normally used by hospitals to detect cancer is better than direct questioning because, ‘when you ask people to tell you how they feel, the very act of thinking about a feeling changes the feeling’.” (Rupert Neate, The Guardian)

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10 Responses to Ad men use brain scanners to probe our emotional response

  1. Maggy Failing says:

    I think this is an extremely interesting means of testing the effectiveness of advertising on consumers. I have always been a little weary of how testing groups and particularly the moderators format questions and whether it brings out the true opinions of customers rather than what they think the company wants to hear. This new method of brain analysis seems to capture the initial emotions and thoughts of the customer rather than just their formulated response. The process will likely give companies a greater understanding of the customers in their market and how their products are perceived by consumers.

  2. Rajan Singhal says:

    I think this is absolutely terrible. This technology is turning ads closer and closer to brainwashing tactics. This technology allows advertisers to manipulate their message to the point where the ad can induce the exact mental response they were aiming for. I am very against this method of testing because it will only increase the materialism that is far more prevalent in today’s society.

    What if companies like MacDonald or candy companies used this technique to manipulate children’s emotional responses. This technology is fantastic, but not within the advertising world and I hope there is an effort to end this practice. Advertising companies should not have the power to manipulate our emotional responses just to sell me a product.

  3. I think this type of research is not only exceptionally innovative but also has the power to be very successful for advertising agencies. I don’t believe that it makes advertising closer to brainwashing because it essentially does the same thing as focus groups, but it is more reliable and therefore produces better results. Advertising is supposed to induce mental and emotional responses (good ads at least) in the consumer, because ultimately that is what sells products and improves brand reputation. Using this type of technology to really research the way that advertising effects consumers makes perfect sense. Agencies use many different types of quantitative and qualitative research to truly understand how successful their campaigns may be – I think that good research can come from almost anywhere, even medical offices.

  4. J Scheifla says:

    From Wikipedia:

    Hubris ( /ˈhjuːbrɪs/), also hybris, means extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.

    Used as a tool to better understand oneself I can appreciate not only this technology, but also it’s application in the business world (“We are changing the way brands understand themselves so they can better understand their audiences.”). Used as a tool to enable marketers and advertisers to better manipulate consumers? Never gonna happen. Human beings are far too varied a species for anything like that to ever work. In other words, they (the “neuromarketers” and their clients) are fooling themselves. Pradeep says, “when you ask people to tell you how they feel, the very act of thinking about a feeling changes the feeling”. Yeah? But wearing an EEG headset in a laboratory doesn’t?

    • Dane says:

      I felt the same. Made me wonder how exactly they came up with their data, then, while recognizing that subject emotions are changed due to their awareness of being asked, or in this case, monitored.

      In any case, I do see this as a useful tool for a business to better serve their customers. I don’t see how it is “brainwashing”, as Rajan said above, if a business is simply trying to fulfill a want or need of their customers, which is ultimately the purpose for their existence.

  5. bigburr08 says:

    As a person from the outside looking in, I think it is a little over the top. With propganda and ads already swaying people in directions they may not want to go, this sytem could somewhat brainwash people. For example by that I mean a credit card company could learn the best ways to make their customers feel they need one. This could make people may a poor decision, and could lead them down a road of debt and stress. Beyond the possible negatives I do think it is interesting, and I see why they are using it as all their points are valid. I have been in focus groups, had to take surveys. It is very easy to not say how you actually feel, or simply brush off the question and not think about it. I see this as very useful for businesses, and if you had access to it why would you not use it? This tactic could become very profitable for businesses for obvious reasons. If they knew exactly how to target their audiences, they could waste less money and pinpoint how to boost their sales.

  6. Eli Bovarnick says:

    While this method seems a bit excessive it also seems like a smart practice given the advancement of technology. Using technology to get more accurate results instead of the traditional method of asking people their opinion reminds me of sports leagues implementing instant replay in their games. While some people are opposed to sports incorporating technological help into their game experience, a majority of fans are grateful for support such as instant replay for close plays in football. For advertising, it makes sense that the practice of figuring out consumer desires be as accurate as possible. Advertisers are not served well by conducting focus groups in which they are not given accurate information. If advertisers have the technology at their disposal to make their information more accurate and people volunteer for the process then I have no problem with this type of method becoming the norm in advertising.

  7. Dustin Haines says:

    I have to agree with Rajan on this one. These new neuroscience methods allow for advertisers to simply enter the mind of their consumers and find exactly what excites them into hoaxing them into purchasing the good or service. If all companies move towards this technique it will continue to become increasingly difficult to stimulate viewers minds because it would be impossible to essentially create 100 percent of the ads to be perfect. Although, NeuroFocus was very innovative when creating this idea. Using the same technology that is used for brain cancer patients and tying it in with solving the problem of creating the perfect ad is a creative method that will most likely find a good deal of success in the future. Personally though, I don’t agree with this mind reading technology, I feel as if it is in a sense evading people’s privacy.

  8. Brittany Neptune says:

    As more businesses enter the market, competition has intensified and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to grab a target market’s attention with all the options available and all the surrounding stimuli that distracts consumers. This being said, market research is extremely valuable to gather so that companies can better capture their audience without wasting a lot of money. If a technologically advanced opportunity that can help better provide marketers and advertisers with information and insight arises why not take advantage of it? Focus groups and personal interviews may not be as effective anyway as marketers gather information on what consumers think they should buy, feel, like, etc. (whatever is deemed socially acceptable or the norm) rather than what they would actually buy, think, etc. from these research methods. This new technology allows marketers to “cut to the chase” so to speak and get the most accurate information about what consumers would actually buy, how they feel towards a product, etc. I don’t find this research method manipulative at all especially if there are consumers willing to participate or volunteer themselves.

  9. Haley Klatt says:

    I’m not quite sure how I feel about this exactly. From one angle, it’s a great use of technology and new means of gathering data. However, when does it become a problem? When does this mind reading machine actually start to invade people’s privacy? Back to the positive angle, this would bring more money to the advertising world as well as new and innovative ideas. Plus, let’s say Company A out of a handful of other companies thinks this is unconstitutional and so on and so forth, well their competitors are still going to use it. This then results in Company A being left behind only because they didn’t want to invade the privacy of others and play more of a “fair” game. This is a money making industry for the brands and they will go to whatever dramatic ends to obtain the data necessary to make the smartest moves possible.

    Scenario two however, does start to look at the possibilities of invading privacy. Although thinking about a feeling may change the outcome of that feeling, isn’t that what advertisers have based their ads on for years? What if all of a sudden all of these “real emotions” are revealed and companies begin suffering for just something that may not have even mattered in the past. And who decides what “thoughts” are notable and which ones aren’t relevant enough to feed to the advertisers? All of this is just food for thought. 😉

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