Synthetic Fear: How to Make a Scary Movie

Over the years, movie-makers have tried to go beyond what’s on the screen to scare theatergoers. In the 1950s, director William Castle startled those viewing his horror films, notably The Tingler, with gimmicks like vibrators installed under some theater seats. When the creature escapes into a theater in the movie, Vincent Price’s voice warns the [...]

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Medical Marketing: Is That REAL Pain?

Robert Burton of Salon wrote an interesting piece that discusses both the field of prescription drug marketing and how fMRI brain scans have been used to show that pain is “real.” Fibromyalgia is a condition in which patients seem to experience more pain than non-sufferers. Fibromylgia is thought to be stimulated by mental states like [...]

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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 [...]

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Offer a Third Choice, Boost Sales

In both Decoy Marketing and More Decoys: Compromise Marketing, I wrote about how adding an item to a lineup of products could increase sales. In the former, the “decoy” was a product that was less attractive than another product but priced the same, or almost the same. This caused sales of the more attractive product [...]

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Are Tobacco Warnings Really Ads?

One of the startling conclusions from the neuromarketing study described by Martin Lindstrom in Buyology is that not only are the government-mandated warnings on tobacco packages ineffective, but they actually promote smoking behavior by activating the brain’s nucleus accumbens, an area associated with cravings. This counterintuitive finding was a highlight of Lindstrom’s Today Show interview. [...]

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Caffeinated Branding: Think Inside the Cup

Way back in 2005, in Can Caffeine Brain Boost Help Ad Recall?, I suggested that Starbucks could sell potent ads on their cups. This idea, though tongue-in-cheek in nature, was based on fMRI research that showed caffeine stimulated areas of the brain associated with memory: Dr Florian Koppelstatter of the Medical University Innsbruck, Austria, found [...]

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Focus on NeuroFocus: Interview with A. K. Pradeep

Last week, I carried the story on Neurofocus’s acquisition of what the firm calls the “core patent” for neuromarketing. Subsequent to that announcement, I spoke by phone with Dr. A.K. Pradeep, President and Chief Executive Officer of Neurofocus. Here are some highlights of our conversation:

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Brain Image Bias

The use of brain imaging in evaluating advertising and products is increasing, and one wonders if the judgment of marketing execs could be clouded by the presence of colorful scan images when used to back up humdrum conclusions in the text. The answer is almost certainly, “Yes.” A recent study showed that students found studies [...]

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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:

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Sexy Pics Beat Ugly Spiders

  Erotic images sell better than pictures of office supplies, and a lot better than photos of hairy spiders. Who knew? Actually, that’s a bit of an oversimplification. Stanford researchers led by neuroeconomics prof Brian Knutson have found that positive images, in this case mildly erotic photos of men and women shown to heterosexual men, [...]

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