Daniel KahnemanAt the excellent Freakonomics blog, they have been publishing an extended Q&A series of posts. Their latest guest is Daniel Kahneman, co-recipient the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics [re-corrected, see discussion in comments], whose new book is Thinking, Fast and Slow. One that I found particularly relevant to neuromarketing was a question about the future of cognitive science:

Q. Now that we understand reason as being largely unconscious, motivated by emotion, embodied and constituted by many biases and heuristics, where do you see the future of cognitive science going? Are we at the beginning stages of a paradigm shift? -McNerney

A. The only way I know to predict the future of science is to look at the choices of beginning graduate students. The specialization they acquire now will probably determine their activities for the next 15-20 years. By this measure, the near-term future of cognitive science seems to be as an approach to neuroscience, which combines methods and concepts drawn from psychology and from brain research. Signs of emotional arousal are salient in the reactions to many events – and especially to decisions — so the conceptual separation between emotion and pure cognition seems likely to crumble. [From Daniel Kahneman Answers Your Questions. Emphasis added.]

In my own new book Brainfluence I use the term “neuromarketing” to broadly include not just pure neuroscience but also behavioral research. I see what we learn from psychology and neuroscience as a continuum. Before tools like fMRI, psychology looked at the brain as a black box, and focused on observing and explaining behavior. Adding today’s high-tech equipment and methods didn’t change human behavior one bit, but it did let us peer inside the black box and see what’s going on.

Needless to say, the remarks from a renowned scientist like Kahneman were welcomed here at Neuromarketing! What do you think the future of cognitive science holds?

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