Neuroscience and Marketing

There is a growing trend for marketing companies to turn to neuroscience in order to create better advertisements. Nielsen Entertainment Television Group now collaborates with NeuroFocus, a company that specializes in applying neurotechnology and neuroscience to marketing. NeuroFocus has some fairly well-known neuroscientists serving as advisors so their work should be pretty good. I hadn’t heard of the company before today but as I browsed their website I was intrigued. I recently completed a clinical rotation working at an anxiety disorders clinic. At the clinic all of the patients I saw were part of a research study investigating physiological arousal and emotion, specifically fear responses. Anyway, the patients were hooked up to sensors that measured skin conductance, eye blink, and other similar ways to measure physiological arousal. Some also received an EEG while viewing various photos.

My point is that the research that the company NeuroFocus is doing seems very valid knowing what we know about the physiological arousal associated with basic emotions. I think research like this is great because it has the potential for companies to make better, albeit more manipulative, commercials. All you need to do is look at physiological arousal and correlate the data from commercials with data from things like the International Affective Picture System. Of course, you can’t use the IAPS in for-profit work but a company could develop something similar. Even though I don’t do emotion research I think working at a place like NeuroFocus could be fascinating.

You can read more about using neuroscience in marketing in a short but good New York Times article.