Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience

Neuromarketers differ from consumer neuroscientists. The former are less interested in how the brain operates during choice making than in what its human proprietor “chooses”—and in how to tempt the brain to “choose” their clients’ products. Neuromarketers’ services don’t come cheap; an average EEG or fMRI marketing study costs around $40,000 to $50,000. Still, there seems to be no shortage of willing clients. For example, a Coca-Cola marketing team used EEG to help edit an ad for Super Bowl XLII in 2008. After screening several possible commercials for volunteers, the marketers noticed that the viewers appeared to be more “engaged” when the music in one version of the commercial built to a crescendo. The ad team altered its original version of the commercial accordingly. Reportedly, creative teams working with a number…

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