Madison Avenue and Your Brain

| October 11, 2002

Madison Avenue and Your Brain, Matthew Blakeslee,
Why does advertising work so well? It's all in the brain. As Matthew Blakeslee reports in, the burgeoning field of neuroscience may help explain why our tummies grumble when we see cheeseburgers on TV. Those answers lie within the brain's limbic system, the area that houses the dorsal striatum (an addiction center that makes us crave food) and nucleus accumbens (a pleasure center that, when triggered, tells our memories to relate those good feelings with the stimulus that caused them). Blakeslee notes that, while these systems were once vital in making humans crave food whenever it was available, the sheer availability of food today makes these neuro-systems obsolete and, often, unhealthy. According to neuroscientist Nora Volkow, 'This is a reason why [fast food] advertisements are so compelling, and why we are having an epidemic of obesity in this country.'
--Chuck Terhark
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