Cutting Edge Science or Creepy Science Fiction?

Neuromarketing Gets into the Minds of Consumers

In laboratories across the country, people are sitting in front of television sets, dozens of electrosensors on their heads, their faces and their fingers. As pictures appear on the screens, maps of the subjects’ brain activity (brainwaves) appear on a separate monitor in the room. Cameras also track the subjects’ eye movements as they watch.

Welcome to the world of neuromarketing.

By measuring and studying consumers’ sensorimotor, cognitive and affective responses to marketing stimuli, researchers seek to learn why
consumers make the decisions they do, and what part of the brain is telling them to do it. Proponents claim the research will result in more meaningful human connections and less guesswork about what people really want.

Some, however, deem the process “mind reading” (or worse) and worry that consumers will be taken advantage of by the development
of messages delivered directly into their subconscious minds. These messages could potentially affect purchases, political preferences, and just about any other type of decision we make.

Truth is, it’s way too early to tell either way.

While neuromarketing can measure how consumers react to ads and products, there is currently little data that supports these techniques as an accurate predictor of consumer behavior. For example, most advertisements contain complex and often overlapping stimuli, making the determination of exactly to what a consumer is responding very challenging. Thus, accurate evaluation of these brain signals requires scientific study in much more depth that is evident in most of the neuromarketing literature.

For now, it seems that neuromarketing studies are best utilized as a complement to other, more proven research methodologies, not as a replacement for them.


This article was written by Kirsty Nunez.  Kirsty Nunez is President and Chief Research Strategist at Q2 Insights. Q2 Insights is a market research consulting firm with offices in San Diego and New Orleans. Kirsty can be reached at (760) 230-2950 and 

This entry was posted in Game Changing Research Methodologies and Concepts and tagged on November 8, 2011 by Heather Hatty