I’ve been trying to catch up on the neuromarketing press after my lengthy trip, and found that an article in the San Francisco Chronicle provided a nicely balanced, if not highly detailed, look at the field. The story focuses on two Bay Area firms, NeuroFocus and Emsense Corp.

UC Berkeley neuroscientist Robert Knight, a scientific adviser to NeuroFocus, said neuro-marketing has arisen at the confluence of three trends: a better understanding of the regions of the brain; precise sensors to measure when, say, the memory center is active; and software to infer from these telltale signs whether a given message resonated with men or women of different ages.

“Neuroscience today is where physics was at the turn of the last century,” Knight said. “We’ve had the groundbreaking thoughts and theories. Now we are measuring and testing.” [From Coming to a marketer near you: Brain scanning by Tom Abate.]

The article is quite bullish, but does include a cautionary note about the often bland and obvious conclusions from neuromarketing studies:

“Guess what: Babies and puppies do a lot better to sell things than toothless old men,” said Jim Meskauskas, vice president for online media with ICON International and advertising industry pundit.

That’s been a frequent complaint of mine as well, though of course not ALL neuromarketing studies merely confirm the obvious. (Via The Neurocritic.)

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