Imagine a world that is able to decipher a consumer’s “buy button” and expose this knowledge to corporations, Wall Street bankers, and politicians to help manipulate a consumer’s overall decision process.  A world where researchers are able to reach a consumer’s subconscious mind to better understand why consumers do what they do and what part of the brain is telling them to do it.  Surprisingly enough you are currently living in that world!


Today research firms are ditching traditional ways of marketing research and are investing in neuromarketing.  Neuromarketing is a new form of marketing that studies consumer’s cognitive and affective responses to marketing stimuli. This form of marketing research uses technologies such as electroencephalograms (EEGs) to measure and grow to understand the consumer on their subconscious level where the consumer is free from all culture bias.  According to Wikipedia, other technologies that may be used in this type of research are functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure changes in activity in parts of the brain, and steady state topography (SST) to measure activity in specific regional spectra of the brain response, and other sensors to measure changes in one’s physiological state such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and galvanic skin response.

Interested in knowing which companies are spending millions to measure and understand your mind?  According to Fastcompany companies such as Google, CBS, Frito-Lay, Intel, Paypal, HP, CITI, and Microsoft are a few companies investing in this science-fiction type of marketing and using it to help develop commercials, packaging, and product design.  With companies growing more and more anxious to find a vehicle that will help tap consumer’s emotions and break through the mass advertising spectrum it’s not surprising to see some of the top corporations jump on this bandwagon.

How do you feel about this marketing research tool?  Do you think neuromarketing is simply a more precise and effective tool than traditional focus groups or is it an ethical nightmare to feed the greed of big businesses?