Tag Archives: Neuroscience

Media Brands Navigate The Multicultural Future

Two great presentations at Monday’s Entertainment and Media track
took on the multicultural consumer. It’s a popular topic: the undeniable fact
of a diversifying US population forces brands to rethink their approaches.
Especially so, when you consider that the demographic prizes marketers most
covet ‘ Millennials and Gen Z ‘ are at the front of this change.
Thomas Grayman from Spike TV applied the latest neuroscience
techniques to this thorny problem, and came away with a valuable insight about
how representation impacts viewers of color at a subconscious level. Yatisha
Forde of NBC Universal took the ‘reaching the multicultural consumer’ rulebook
and tore it right up, asking us to turn our assumptions upside down: as
multiculturalism becomes the ‘New Mainstream’, start with the Hispanic consumer and reach the rest of the market
from them.
Spike TV had a typical media brand problem. It had built its
brand on appealing to young white men, and now it needed to reach a broader
audience. It had a roster of strong reality and celebrity shows ‘ like tattoo
throwdown Ink Master and personal finance boot camp Life Or Debt.  But how could the brand market its line-up to
viewers outside its former core audience?
Grayman described how Spike TV crafted ads for its shows and
tested them with cells of white and non-white consumers, using NeuroInsight.
NeuroInsight’s techniques monitored brain response to the ads ‘ in particular,
the extent to which long-term memory is activated by a piece of content.
Initial results made tough reading for a brand looking to expand
its audience for a more diverse era. Despite diverse casts with people of color
prominently featured, the ads scored lower among the non-white participants on
engagement and on long-term memory activation. Emotional response was starkly
negative. What was going on?
Lip Sync Battle – what did it get right?
By exploring response on a second-by-second basis, Spike TV
could find out exactly what the problem was. On average the ads were a turn off
for non-white viewers, but with a stark in response before and after the first
prominent appearance of a person of color. As soon as one appeared, memory
encoding jumped. And the ad in which people of color appeared prominently
throughout ‘ for celebrity miming challenge Lip Sync Battle ‘ saw no difference
between white and non-white response.
Grayman called this moment of truth for non-white viewers ‘the
invitation’ ‘ the point at which they unconsciously register that yes, this
show welcomes them. With this insight, Spike TV has been able to retool its marketing
as it looks to build and diversify its audience. The moment of invitation needn’t
involve visual representation ‘ one ordinary Persil ad found its ‘invitation’
in the closing seconds, with a snatch of Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do it’.
Multicultural representation is a hot topic ‘ it’s generally
framed as both a social and commercial good, based on the overall positive
effects of under-represented groups seeing themselves in the media. Spike TV’s
study offered proof of its impact at an individual level ‘ representation is
the key to unlocking engagement, attention and long-term impact.
Yatisha Forde of NBCUniversal took that insight a step
further. The brand’s CultureFirst’ approach flipped the traditional
multicultural script. Instead of taking a Total Market insight and ‘translating’
it for different minority groups, the CultureFirst approach takes insights
designed for a particular consumer ‘ a young Hispanic woman ‘ and then
transfers them to the total market. By not using whiteness as an assumed
baseline, CultureFirst is able to get ahead of cultural trends, not play
catch-up. As Forde put it, ‘Total market strategies driven by Latino human
truths will drive stronger consumer resonance among Hispanics and
Non-Hispanics, due to the profound, pervasive and permanent nature of Latino
culture in the US.’
In practical terms, this meant ads that started
Spanish-language and tested just as well among Hispanic and non-Hispanic groups
when transferred to English-language. It also meant feeding into NBC Universal’s CurveReport ‘ the company’s large-scale trend tracker. CultureFirst helped
NBC Universal locate a group it called ‘the New Mainstream’, made up of Hispanic
consumers but also Hispanic-inspired consumers: again, moving the assumptions
of what ‘mainstream’ culture is to better reveal the future shape of the
The trends uncovered were the most fascinating part of Forde’s
report. Some were pragmatic ‘ putting the spotlight on La Jefa (‘the boss’),
figurehead of a trend towards female-owned small Latina businesses, a segment
that’s grown 87% over the last decade. Others had profound implications for
cultural identity ‘ ‘Otherland’, shorthand for the way in which Hispanic and ‘New
Mainstream’ consumers are comfortable with multiple cultural identities from
the broad to the niche: Hispanic and witch, Blaxican and skater. But rather
than dividing consumers into segments of one, these intersectional identities
become hubs by which like-minded people can find each other.
The CultureFirst approach has led NBC Universal to re-think
the way it treats culture. Younger generations, it realises, want to see
themselves as the owners and tellers of their own story, not simply as an
audience. So honouring existing culture is only an important first step. After
it comes sharing culture without appropriation, by giving its owners the agency
to tell stories. Then finally helping people inspired by these stories to
Both these presentations were inspiring beginnings to TMRE
2016. Grayman’s showed how new technology can crack the trickiest of marketing
problems. Forde’s was an inspirational vision of a genuinely future-focused
marketing, which puts demographic change at its centre.

David Eagleman’s Neuroscience Research On How Consumers Perceive Brands

Neuroscience has been tapped to help brands understand consumer purchasing decisions for several years now, with methods from healthcare and academia such as EEG and biometrics applied to study the motivations of consumers. Marketing insights company Nielsen, for example, even has a branch devoted to neuroscience called Consumer Neuroscience headed by Harvard Medical School neuroscientist Dr. Carl Marci. But what have market researchers actually learned from all these efforts that can help brands?

Our brains seek shortcuts that eliminate the need to think. Photo: Ryan McGuire
Some very interesting research results have come from a Baylor College of Medicine study. A team of neuroscientists presented 40 subjects with vignettes of actions taken by both humans and corporations to monitor brain scans of their responses. This research originally stemmed from the inquiries into the legal implication of ‘corporate personhood’ and fact that the American legal system has extended the rights of individuals to corporations and held corporations, as a collective unit, liable. Funding for this work came from the ‘Initiative on Neuroscience and the Law’.

Our Brains Use Different Areas to Process People and Objects

The study went like this: The vignettes given to the participants showed actions that were positive and pro-social such as donating money, neutral such as purchasing office equipment, or anti-social such as law breaking. There was also a control of vignettes about inanimate objects such as fruit or an ironing board. Baylor College’s website reported: ‘When participants made judgments about people, specific areas of the brain involved in social reasoning became active. In contrast, when participants reasoned about an object, activity in these areas was diminished.’ 

The Human Brain Experiences Corporations as People
The study found that people essentially used similar parts of the brain to understand corporate and human behavior. This study which originally had to do with law has applications to how consumers relate to brands ‘ if they’re using similar parts of the brain to understand corporate and individual human behavior, they’re essentially equating brands with people! You can read the entire paper ‘Are Corporations People Too‘? written by Mark Plitt, Ricky R. Savjani and David M. Eagleman here.

Companies Need to Work on Reputation, Loyalty and Trust

This study gives some radical insight into how people view brands; one author of the study, David Eagleman, says it tells us that companies need to work on reputation, loyalty and trust. We’re excited to say that Eagleman, host of PBS’ The Brain and NYT best selling author will be at The Market Research event this October. Eagleman’s talk is called: ‘Emotion, Motivation, and Reputation: What Matters to the Mind of the Consumer

Got any comments on this blog? Make yourself heard – Tweet to us at @TMRE!

Live from #TMRE14: Simon Sinek on How to Think Like a Leader

Simon Sinek is the author of “Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Last, this morning on the last day of TMRE 2014, he explored ways to think and act like a true leader.

Almost all of our behavior is driven by our need to feel safe.

Trust and cooperation are feelings not instructions or things you can ask for, leaders set the tone, people REACT to an environment.

The human interprets everything in terms of life and death, even when the stakes aren’t that high.

You can easily manipulate people with fear but it doesn’t work for very long and causes stress and the inability to thrive.

When people feel same, feel part of the same tribe, they create traditions, language and their own culture which they cooperate with.




People get addicted to endorphin rush and hits of dopamine, but they are fleeting while seratonin and oxytocin are released over time in relationship and make you feel safe and loved. Leaders make people feel safe and people in turn love their leaders.

Loyal customers and employers don’t care that other products/companies exist.
They have such strong relationships they won’t budge.

Loneliness causes more death than obesity, people who feel lonely are more likely to die younger than people who aren’t. Build relationships and community to empower people, make them feel safe.

People will not believe you if you don’t believe in what you are offering yourself.

Believe you can be the change.


Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at Literanista.net. She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at vrusso@iirusa.com or @Literanista.

Live from #TMRE14: Wired for Story

Jonathan Gottschall is a scholar and today at TMRE 2014, he took us through research from his latest book, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human.

Dreams are night stories, stories are the fabric of our social setting. Gossip is the preferred genre of human stories. We have restless minds.

Story Solutions to Key Solutions:

How do you seize and hold attention?
How do you use it to persuade & influence other people?

Average duration of daydreams is 14 seconds, we have about 2,000 per day.

The neuroscience of the brain on story, less still, less passive, the brain experiences empathetic sensation right along with the story. Much like a reaction to a horror movie, your brain processes stories as real.

“Art is an infection” – Tolstoy

Story shapes us, it’s not mindless, it has the ability to change the person consuming the story. Story changes behavior by changing brain chemistry.

None of this works unless the story is good. The story has to acchive narrative transformation. Your audience has to lose itself.

Story’s Universal Grammar:

Character +
Predicament +
Attempted Solution +

Story’s Function:

A story is a problem solution narrative that carries a deeper message, otherwise it’s just a hollow, meaningless vehicle. It expresses values, beliefs, and a bigger meaning.

We love stories, unlike other messaging, we crave good stories the same way we crave good food.

A well told story cuts through the buzz of distraction, settles our restless minds, and holds us rapt.

No other communication form can do this.

Story is emotional. They can blow your mind and change your mind. Stories are more persuasive than strategies based on argument and evidence.

Story is sticky, if you want an idea to enter into the universe and lodge there it’s best to weave it into a story.

Story is infectious, they demand to be retold. As a result the ideas and values in the stories spread virally through social networks.

We need stories in the best and worst of times. We are storytelling animals, stories offer hope and solace.


Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at Literanista.net. She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at vrusso@iirusa.com or @Literanista.

Beware the Brain-Science Backlash

It’s official: After decades of watching neuroscience move
from being a strange stepsister of psychology to cutting-edge medical research,
the inevitable backlash is in full swing.
The year’s just half over, and already, such books as Brainwashed:
The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience; A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind:
What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves, and Brain Imaging:
What it Can (and Cannot) Tell Us About Consciousness have hit the shelves.
There are cheeky blogs debunking neuropsuedoscience, like NeuroBollocks. And in the
ultimate proof that skepticism is top of mind, The New Yorker says it’s so.
Check out Gary Marcus’ recent The
Problem With The Neuroscience Backlash.
The reason there is such an onslaught of accusations about
neuroscience overreaching itself is because so many people have, in fact,
overreached. As this approach to thinking about people and human behavior grew
increasingly popular, practitioners of neuroscience felt that natural urge to
‘run with the ball’ ‘ making increasingly expansive and provocative claims
about the powers of the science . Most famously, neuromarketers informed Frito
Lay that women looking at their snack packages felt ‘guilty’ ‘ based on
observed activity in an area of the brain called the anterior cingulated
cortex. Frito Lay reacted to this information by making major changes in its
snack packaging. The problem was that academic neuroscientists will tell you
that there is no area of the brain that can be associated with guilt ‘ and that
the anterior cingulate cortex has been associated with error detection ‘ fairly
different from the concept of guilt. Using ‘reverse inference’ to translate
FMRI patterns into psychological concepts such as guilt or desire can only lead
to marketing conclusions that are neither certain nor credible. Brain scans
don’t yet offer the insights we need to formulate marketing strategies. We are
doubtless many years away ‘ if it will ever be possible ‘ from knowing which
neurons govern such psychological phenomena as guilt or generosity or ambition.
Meanwhile, other practitioners of business research
recognized that the neuroscience idea was ‘hot’, and soon it seemed that
everyone has some type of ‘neuroscience’ in their product mix. All of this
naturally winds up with trouble. As legitimate practitioners of FMRI research
stretched the science beyond its current limits, and as faux ‘neuroscientists’
with no basis for their claim crowd onto the stage, it is only natural that the
term would begin to be attached to shaky or even completely bogus science. This
activity is a natural target for a public backlash.
The customers of neuroscience have also played a role in
creating the backlash against neuroscience. Many new technologies in science
are initially greeted with over-strong levels of enthusiasm, as people hope
that ‘finally’ some of the frustrating inadequacies of current methods might be
overcome ‘ including the current heavy reliance on some form of self report to
measure emotional enthusiasm. The business community pounced on brain research
with delight as soon as it appeared: after all those years of parsing what
consumers told us in subjective focus group results, there was suddenly science.
This made for a very welcoming audience to those who might exaggerate the
powers of the new scientific technology, and a potentially gullible audience
for those attempting to masquerade as practitioners of the new. Overly
enthusiastic individuals who climbed uncritically onto the ‘next new thing’
were bound to get disappointed ‘ and hence the fuel for the backlash.
The backlash raises important issues, and hopefully sends
signals to practitioners and would-be customers alike about the importance of
reasonable conservatism in making claims for a new science, and about the need
for customers to exercise critical judgment in evaluating any new scientific
technology as a possible solution to research challenges. Going forward it is
critical that researchers eliminate any suggestion of smoke-and-mirrors from
our claims, and resist the urge to hyperbolize in the face of public
The brain is a wondrous organ, and the study of
neurophysiology and neuropsychology represents a huge forefront in psychological
science today. But right now, we don’t have a perfect map of what happens in
the human brain. We barely have a map at all. President Barack Obama’s $100
million funding for the Brain Initiative earlier this year is great news for
all of us who are interested in the brain. The more we know, the more
inferences we will be able to make about human emotion, thought and behavior.
At this point, we need to move carefully so as to benefit
from the promise of this new science without creating overpromise. For example,
Sands Research uses EEG to measure increased attention and arousal. They found
that ads that both build and sustain attention and arousal are more effective
than those that fail to maintain this activity. In one famous study, this
technique was used to evaluate a series of Super Bowl ads finding one ad in
particular that was associated with stronger EEG responses than any previously
had ever tested. This ad subsequently generated over 6.8 billion worldwide
impressions, 50 million views online, massively increased traffic to the brand
website, and directly contributed to North American sales. Using simple and
straightforward neuroscience measures, and drawing conservative claims, Sands
effectively used neuroscience to help the client.
Only with this kind of careful and conservative application
of neuroscience in market research will we be able to ensure that marketers do
not heave the baby out with the bathwater, as they react to disappointing
results from claims that were wildly premature.
I believe the focus should be primarily on developing
measures and methods that leverage the basic empirical findings of neuroscience
(such as the neuropsychology of image processing) to craft emotional research
tools that get beyond the problems of simple self-report. Attempting to stretch
our understanding of functional neuroanatomy beyond the bounds of current
scientific consensus will only lead to accusations of chicanery from the core
of the scientific community.  Specific
emotional phenomena that marketers seek to create in their audiences emerge
from interactions among a massive web of neurons, with vast numbers of
potential connections that are currently well outside our functional
neuroanatomical understanding. (The latest count, in case you were wondering, is
that the typical adult brain contains 86 billion neurons, and then about the
same number of glial cells helping connect these neurons.) If we are ever able
to point to the neurology of feeling the drive for achievement, or of
experiencing the urge to nurture one’s family, that will be a very long way
So as with all science, we must temper enthusiasm with
caution, we must push the envelope of our methods without tearing it wide open.
Neuroscience will surely point the way to greater self-knowledge for the human
race, and greater opportunities for the whole of human culture ‘ including
business and marketing. I close with somewhat famous watchwords that are
appropriate for those who would practice (or purchase) neuroscience: ‘If your
mind is too open, your brain may fall out.’

About the Author:
David Forbes holds a Ph.D. in clinical and cognitive psychology from Clark
University, and was a member of the faculties of Harvard Medical School
Department of Psychiatry and the Harvard Laboratory of Human Development before
beginning his career as a business consultant. He founded Forbes Consulting
over 20 years ago as a strategic market research consultancy dedicated to
creating business advantage through psychological consumer insights. He has
since built Forbes into a major resource for scores of major corporations in
the CPG, Financial Services, and Pharmaceuticals industries, domestically and
internationally. David is the creator of the MindSight?? emotional
assessment technologies, a suite of applied neuropsychological methods for understanding
consumer emotion and motivation, without the distortions of conscious editing
and self-presentation.  

Your Brain On Football

It’s kickoff time. And whether it’s played at high schools,
colleges or in NFL stadiums, football is increasingly becoming America’s game.
Women now make up 44 percent of the NFL fan base, for example, and last season,
the sport drew in a record number of Hispanic viewers as well. The game is even
a hot export, with four teams scheduled to compete in England this season. That
means that marketers are using more football imagery (and across more
categories) than ever: Sabra Hummus, in the hopes that the gridiron can make
chickpeas seem macho, is now the official dip of the NFL
For those of us who study the emotional centers of the
brain, though, the real game is in decoding why there is a growing fascination
with a decidedly primitive pastime: Winning requires speed, guts and
bone-crushing power.
In general, spectator sports get their emotional appeal from
a very basic human drive’the need to shape an identity that lets us belong to
one group, while differentiating us from others. (Like when we threw rocks at
rival tribes thousands of years ago.) But because we’re civilized now and can’t
engage in that kind of bloodthirsty bonding, sports provide a very interesting
and emotionally useful release. They allow us to explore and engage with those
primal areas of identity that we may be unable to express in the real
In the case of football, it’s a very particular mode of
vicarious identification: The ritualized conflict of the game provides an
outlet for our personal desires to be aggressive and emerge triumphant. It
provides as well an important outlet for sublimating all of the slights and
injuries we suffer in the real world, but can’t do anything about directly. We
may not be allowed to knock irritating coworkers to the ground. But our beloved
Giants (or Vikings, Broncos or Bears) can.
Of course, all sports are ritualized conflict, to a degree.
But because football is more full-throatedly physical, it’s more emotionally
visceral. (My apologies to those who have been body slammed in basketball
games.)  In fact, football is probably
the closest thing we have to a modern day form of the gladiatorial contest ‘
the popular (so we hear) spectator sport for our ancestors.
Affiliation with the local team of football warriors is so
powerful for some people that it spills out beyond weekend games. They express
their feelings of belonging through bumper stickers, tattoos, team jerseys, and
house flags (I keep waiting to see motorcycle helmets.)
Sports team loyalties also provide strong social signal value,
as we become members of a ‘club’ of those around us who like and follow a team.
The explosion of fantasy leagues has created a new level of fandom, where we
actually get to manage teams, as well as watch them.
Women join the huddle

The emergence of women as a key fan base for the NFL,
though, is even more fascinating. Women’s roles have evolved, moving from historic
social pressures to seem (if not actually be) submissive, into a modern social
context that allows ‘ or even encourages — being increasingly assertive.  Football provides another place for women to
swap out the old fashioned pacifist, nurturing role and try on something a
little different.
This piece of cultural evolution has an interesting double
edge: at the same time that football is having an impact on women’s changing emotional
lives, women’s emotional orientation is influencing the culture of football.  Women’s increasing involvement in football
(both as activist parent and as spectator) is very probably implicated in the much
greater attentiveness in football at all levels to its risks, especially
concussions and the role they play in serious brain injury.
While some people may lament what they see as a sissification,
(I concede it was probably fun to watch guys with swords compete in pits
thousands of years ago, too.) having spectator sports that bring both sexes
together in a continuously evolving ‘modern gladiatorial game’ is probably an
emotionally desirable outlet for modern life.
So let’s salute the arrival of another football season ‘
giving us a great opportunity to cut loose when we need to and give the ‘bad
guys’ some serious pushing, shoving, and a good taste of the dirt.  Our vicarious victories will as always have a
thousand fathers (we really annihilated ‘em!) while our team’s defeats can remain
orphans (the bums just couldn’t get it together.) And then of course there’s
that Seven Layer Bean Dip’
About the Author:
David Forbes holds a Ph.D. in clinical and cognitive psychology from Clark
University, and was a member of the faculties of Harvard Medical School
Department of Psychiatry and the Harvard Laboratory of Human Development before
beginning his career as a business consultant. He founded Forbes Consulting
over 20 years ago as a strategic market research consultancy dedicated to
creating business advantage through psychological consumer insights. He has
since built Forbes into a major resource for scores of major corporations in
the CPG, Financial Services, and Pharmaceuticals industries, domestically and
internationally. David is the creator of the MindSight?? emotional
assessment technologies, a suite of applied neuropsychological methods for understanding
consumer emotion and motivation, without the distortions of conscious editing
and self presentation.  

What draws a person to a brand?

It’s clear that many companies aren’t properly engaging their market when it comes to new products.  According to a recent article at Forbes, nine out of ten new products fail.  But Buyology is a company looking to understand the minds of consumers more by conducting market research that looks into both the conscious and unconscious mind of the consumer.  What they found was that the most appealing brand to consumers, both men and women, was Southwest.  They pinpointed the fact that the brand lends itself to connecting to the consumer through providing affordable and accessable ways to make memories.  It also connects with the customers on another level by highlighting their employees in their commercials as the actors.

Other brands that struck chords with both men and women were Dove and Google.  Surprisingly, Bed Bath and Beyond ranked high for men as all of the gadgets and the clean layout.  Dove, surprisingly for men, was identified do to the fact that they grew up around the brand.  Now, Dove For Men has resurrected their feelings and further connected with this audience.

At The Market Research Technology Event this April 30-May 2, 2012, Dr. A.K. Pradeep, the CEO of Neurofocus, will be spending an entire day with attendees at the NeuroImmersion Workshop to educate and discuss with attendees that functions of the brain, and share how neuroscience is applied to the world of brand,product and packaging design, shopper experience, market research and advertising. For more information on this full day workshop, download the brochure here. As a reader of this blog, when you register and mention code MRTECH12BLOG, you’ll receive an exclusive discount of 15% off the standard rate!

#TDMR Live: Morning Sessions, Day One

The first morning of #TDMR was introduced by conference chair Lenny Murphy with a “state of the industry” panel. First Murphy introduced the GRIT (GreenBook Research Industry Trends) results for Spring 2011, discussing an industry in transition.

According to Murphy, the industry needs to be moving from the Traditional Business Model to a Transition Model to the Future Model, which focuses on integrating and creating innovative technology and breaking down silos. He and the panel members challenged the audience to be leading technology and creating technology, move towards storytelling, and realize that human strategists are still the strongest tool available. For more about this session, read live coverage by Kristin Schwitzer here.

Up next, we jumped directly into exploring new market research technologies as Joseph Carrabis and Frank Della Rosa were “deliberately provocative” with their panel “Analytics Schmanalytics.” This presentation explored Neuromarketing. One interesting take-away from Joseph Carrabis was that the human brain is only hardwired to recognize six colors, using other colors in marketing materials or online can cause cognitive confusion and distract from your message.

Next Olga Patel walked us through some of the eye-tracking technology that has been used by Nestle. Interesting technology included heat-mapping for websites, eye-tracking glasses in a real-world shopping environment and 3D goggles for users to visit a virtual retail space. This technology can be merged with Neuroscience to measure the cognitive response and emotional response of consumers – leading to information that can guide package design.

As an example of the future of eye-tracking, Patel pointed at Text 2.0 technology like so:

After the break, Vivek Bhaskaran of Survey Analytics and Kevin Keeker of Zynga presented on using social gaming as a research methodology case study. Zynga is the number one developer on Facebook, and by tying quick 1-2 question surveys into the gaming experience and drawing from Facebook’s data they can provide enormous amounts of feedback quite quickly. Incidentally, it was also mentioned that Zynga is hiring for several Market Research positions.

Stay with us here or follow us on Twitter @TMRE for continued coverage of the rest of the event. What did you think of the morning sessions? Share with us in the comments.

A Look Back at TMRE 2009: Using Neuroscience for Marketing Research

The Market Research Event 2010 is taking place this November 8-10, 2010 in San Diego, California. Every Friday leading up to the event, we’ll be recapping one session from The Market Research Event 2009.

Using Neuroscience for Marketing Research

Mark Potts of MindShare and Dr. Andrew Pradeep of NeuroFocus gave an excellent presentation about the process of using neuroscience for marketing research in their workshop presentation titled: Neurological Testing Reveals the Truth of Audience Engagement.

Here are the basics:

Respondents are recruited based on research objectives (as in traditional studies).

Respondents wear a “full cap” on their head with 64 sensors attached. These collect data 2000 times every second. This coupled with eye-tracking is the “data collection” methodology.

Consumers can’t tell us everything they’re sensing. For example, a consumer may look very closely at something on a grocery store aisle that grabs attention but the subconscious areas of the brain don’t “tell” the conscious what they think, feel, etc. But it can, however, be measured through brain activity.

3 metrics are measured directly at the brain.
1) Attention: what are you paying attention to….this is based on the science behind ADD/ADHD clinical diagnosis
2) Emotion: how are you emotionally engaged ….this is based on the science behind mania & phobia clinical diagnosis
3) Memory Retention: what is it that you’re experiencing that activates your memory….this is based on the science behind Alzheimer’s

As with all new technological tools in research, this is not a catch all approach but 3 of the areas where it can be used is when trying to measure:
1. Purchase Intent
2. Novelty
3. Awareness

You can learn more about it by watching one of NeuroFocus’ scientists here:

Objects may appear closer than they actually are

In a recent article at the Scientific American, Piercarlo Valdesolo looks at how the desire for an object may cause distortion in the distance of the beholder’s eyes. The way we think and feel about objects changes the distances we perceive in our heads.

In other words, do objects that we want or like appear closer to us than they actually are? In a series of clever experiments Balcetis and Dunning varied the desirability of target objects and asked for participants’ estimates of their physical proximity to these objects.

Read the full article here. How can this affect your consumers? If they see an object as easy to obtain, it will become more desirable for them.