About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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Brain Waves

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March 19, 2004

Neuromarketing Goes to the Cars

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Posted by Zack Lynch

This week's Newsweek International edition contains another story about how brain imaging technologies are being used to understand consumer choice:

"Radiologists at the Neurosense clinic in south London aren't looking for lesions or lumps. Instead, they've set up a periscope that allows her to view a series of videotaped advertisements." Contrary to the beliefs of many brand managers, neuromarketing will improve product success rates over time which primarily depend upon focus groups to help determine which products will be put on the market.

"Almost every focus group throws up someone more vocal and bossy, who either inspires others to follow or react against [them] or both," says Tim Ambler, senior fellow at London Business School. Perhaps that's why only one in 100 products survives in the marketplace after the typical product launch."

"According to researchers, the act of deciding whether to make a purchase lasts 2.5 seconds. When the possibility of buying something first occurs to a person, the visual cortex, in the back of the head, springs into action. A few fractions of a second later the mind begins to turn the product over, as though it were looking at it from all sides, which triggers memory circuits in the left inferotemporal cortex, just above and forward of the left ear. Finally, when a product registers as a "strongly preferred choice"—the goal of every advertiser—the action switches to the right parietal cortex, above and slightly behind the right ear.

"We can scan people looking at lots of different images, find out afterward which ones they remembered and then go back to the scan data and find out what was specific about the brain activity that occurred in response to the remembered images," says Michael Brammer, chairman of Neurosense."

Among the companies currently testing the technique are Ford of Europe who are using such "neuromarketing" techniques to better understand how consumers make emotional connections with their brands and DaimlerChrysler has funded several research projects at the University of Ulm in Germany, using brain-imaging technology to decode which purchasing choices go into buying a car.

[Note: Thanks to Jerome for the Headsup]

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neuromarketing


1. sonia ardila on June 9, 2004 4:19 PM writes...

I want to know what specific information could get Ford and Daimler Chrysler from neuromarketing studies. If this information is still confidential, at least I need to know what topics they could get with this new methodology.

Thanks a lot.

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