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Neuromarketing lets advertisers get inside your brain

You realize that that ‘every click you make, every link you take’ they are watching you. How many times have you Googled ‘cars’ and had nothing but auto ads show up on every site you visit for a month?

Not content to track your clicks and websites neuromarketers are taking things to a whole new level and tracking the firing neurons in your brain.

Neuroscience and marketing had a love child a few years back. Its name – big surprise – is neuromarketing, and the ugly little fellow is growing up. Corporate pitchmen have always wanted to get inside our skulls. The more accurately they can predict how we’ll react to stimuli in the marketplace, from prices to packages to adverts, the more money they can pull from our pockets and transfer to their employers’ coffers.

. . .

But thanks to recent breakthroughs in brain science, companies can now actually see what goes on inside our minds when we shop. Teams of academic and corporate neuromarketers have begun to hook people up to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machines to map how their neurons respond to products and pitches. . . . [ read more Neuromarketing could make mind reading the ad-man’s ultimate tool ]

fMRI’s got off to a rough start in the mind reading business. While each individual could be mapped, we’re all different. The neuron that lights up in my brain when I see a chair is not the neuron that lights up in your brain when you see a chair. Lucky for us or we’d all have to take fMRIs to get on airplanes.

But when it comes to brain patterns for anticipation, happiness, etc patterns in brains are easily picked out by fMRIs and tend to be the same across us all.

Subliminal advertising is illegal in the UK. But it still legal in the US and despite many reports it has no effect on us, recent studies show it does effect us. So should neuromarketing be legal? If it is not legal how do we prevent its use? And if it works well for soda manufacturers how long before the government starts using it?

Neural Predictors of Purchases ( pdf)

More information:
Neuromarketing blog
Marketing to your mind ( TIME )