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CMU Study Identifies Emotions from Brain Activity

One of the ongoing controversies in neuromarketing is how well current techniques can identify specific emotions. While there’s general agreement that attention and emotional engagement can be tracked, identifying specific emotions with confidence has been elusive. Now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have published a new study showing the ability to identify emotions with an accuracy “well above chance” using fMRI. […]

By |July 2nd, 2013|

Sands Research: Faster EEG for Neuromarketing

In what it terms a “neuromarketing breakthrough,” Sands Research has announced the development of a higher speed EEG brain wave monitoring system. The new setup uses a high-density array of EEG sensors capable of measuring activity 10,000 times per second. This hardware is combined with proprietary software to analyze brain activity. […]

By |May 13th, 2010|

Ants and Humans

If the late Nobel Laureate Herb Simon were still around, I’m sure he’d be fascinated by neuromarketing. He did a lot to explode myths of human behavior, notably that people always behave in a rational, utility-maximizing, manner. I never met Simon during my student years at Carnegie-Mellon (though I did serve on a committee with his frequent collaborator, Allen Newell). Nevertheless, Simon’s diverse interests – artificial intelligence, computer science, cognitive psychology, management theory, sociology, and economics – make him a sort of patron saint of neuromarketing and neuroeconomics, at least for me. […]

By |December 3rd, 2009|

Mind Reading and Neuromarketing on 60 Minutes

CBS aired a lengthy segment on “mind reading” that offered quite a bit of good information on how various labs are using fMRI to determine what people are thinking. Reporter Lesley Stahl began the piece at Carnegie Mellon University, where profs Marcel Just and Tom Mitchell are doing amazing work in which they use a computer to predict what object someone is thinking about (See CMU Computers Read Thoughts.) The incredible aspect of the CMU research is that the computer predictions are based not on previous brain scans from that subject, but from scans of other subjects. As part of the segment, 60 Minutes had an associate producer (= someone expendable in case things went horribly wrong!) slide into CMU’s fMRI machine and tested the ability of the CMU technique to identify ten objects purely from scanning her brain. Spoiler alert: in the first “real time” demonstration of the technique, the CMU computer scored a perfect 10 correct guesses.

60 Minutes didn’t stop there – after discussing other work in “mind reading” they moved on to the controversial use of fMRI in lie detection. The piece closed with a brief and slightly skeptical discussion of neuromarketing. Watch the whole thing: […]

By |January 5th, 2009|

Bikinis, Babes, and Buying

Scantily clad women have been used to sell products to men for decades, and likely for millennia in one form or another. There’s little doubt that the typical male brain is wired to respond to attractive females in revealing attire. But is this a cheap attention-getting trick that has no real impact on sales, or does it actually work? Researchers shed new light on this topic by exposing subjects to either videos of women in bikinis or more neutral videos, and evaluating their decision making ability. […]

By |June 24th, 2008|

Mind Reading Progress

Reading a person’s thoughts may still be science fiction, but researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University are making surprising progress in specific types of “mind reading.” The team, led by computer scientist Tom Mitchell and cognitive neuroscientist Marcel Just, has demonstrated that they can correctly determine the concrete noun subjects are thinking three out of four times: […]

By |June 2nd, 2008|

More Mind Reading

Berkeley neuroscientists report that they have been able to identify images subjects looked at solely by analyzing fMRI scans of the subjects’ brains. Jack Gallant and his team at the University of California Berkeley published their findings in Nature. […]

By |March 12th, 2008|

CMU Computers Read Thoughts

Most scientists have dismissed the idea of reading minds using technology as pure science fiction, but Carnegie Mellon University researchers have moved a step closer to doing so. Not only have they been able to identify which of several images a subject is looking at using fMRI scans of their brains. The most startling result is that the CMU researchers were able to take the data from the initial batch of subjects and repeat the identification feat with new subjects. […]

By |January 7th, 2008|

Microsoft Taps Into Your Brain

People who think of Microsoft as a tech-age Big Brother probably won’t be comforted by the software giant’s effort to read your mind. Actually, their intentions are benign… they want to create thought-driven inputs that bypass joysticks and keyboards. Desney Tan, a Microsoft researcher, thinks that ultimately the technology could make workplaces more productive, games more fun, and computers easier to use. Tan even envisions units able to match music to your mood, or block email notifications while you are concentrating. […]

By |November 13th, 2007|

Penalty Pain: How to Make Your Customers Hate You

Neuromarketing readers are by now familiar with the idea of “buying pain” or “pain of paying” – when we buy something, the pain center in our brain can be activated. Work by Carnegie Mellon’s George Loewenstein and others shows that this effect is greatest when the price is perceived to be high or unfair. Buying a pack of gum for $10 would be a lot more “painful” than spending 50 cents for the same item. One wonders how painful paying multiple $40 bounced check fees would be, particularly if you knew your bank processed the largest checks first to ensure the maximum number of bounces. […]

By |November 5th, 2007|