Friday, October 06, 2006 - What Makes You Buy? - What Makes You Buy?: "What Makes You Buy?

OCTOBER 6, 2006

Check Out Your Prefrontal Cortex.

By Ben Macklin - Senior Analyst

Advances in the cognitive sciences and more sophisticated brain imaging are giving us an increasingly rich and detailed view of the brain's functions. With these advances it is perhaps not surprising that marketers have jumped on the 'brain bandwagon' to seek a neuroscientific explanation for why some brand or marketing campaigns work better than others.

The new field of neuromarketing apparently came of age two years ago after a study by Baylor College of Medicine was published in the respected academic journal Neuron. The study attempted to put to rest that age-old question: Which do you prefer, Coke or Pepsi?

The subjects in the experiment were given an anonymous taste test of each drink and their brain activity was scanned using a functional MRI (fMRI). The researchers were able to view, in real time, which parts of the brain 'lit up.' The subjects were then given the same drinks but with an image of a respective Coke can or Pepsi can visible to them. Their brains were scanned again.

The results were — you guessed it — 'Coke is it.' This is how the researchers expressed it: 'For the anonymous task, we report a consistent neural response in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex that correlated with"

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