The new issue of Time Europe features an article by Thomas K. Grose, Brain Sells, that neatly sums up some of the work being done to harness fMRI brain scans to improve marketing campaigns. They focus on the work of Neurosense, an Oxford-based consulting firm focused on neuromarketing that we’ve mentioned before (see Neurosense).
There’s not a lot of new information in the article – it’s really more of a short survey or status report. The usual alarmist fears of marketers finding a “buy button” in the brain and turning consumers into robotic shoppers is trotted out, but also refuted as “science fiction”. Concerns (some of which we share) about the selling of neuromarketing sometimes getting ahead of the hard research are also mentioned. The article concludes,
Can the marketplace be as effective an arbiter of quality scholarship as refereed journals? Perhaps. Deliver too many bad findings based on sloppy science and you won’t remain in business for long. Since Neurosense’s revenues are up threefold in the last year, you don’t need a brain scanner to see that it and its legitimate competitors will likely be attracting business for some time to come.
Overall, Grose does a nicely balanced article – the topic could have done with a more lengthy story, but as is it will give readers new to the concept a fair idea of what neuromarketing is about.