Selling Out the Brain

| March-April 2009

We all know that there’s a vast conspiracy to make us buy more stuff, right? Apparently, the brain scientists are in on it too.

Psychologists, neuroscientists, and marketers are forming a research partnership to study the thought processes behind consumer spending, reports Stanford (Nov.-Dec. 2008). In the emerging field of “decision neuroscience,” business researchers and neuroscientists use MRIs to analyze brain activity and determine what triggers certain responses during purchasing decisions. By tapping into brain-scan results, they hope to predict consumers’ behavior—information that’s highly interesting to marketing professionals.

Of course, “the notion that researchers may give retailers even better tools to persuade even more people to spend and shop elicits something of a shudder,” Stanford writes, especially from psychologists who help people curb obsessive shopping habits. “We’re totally working at cross-purposes,” says April Lane Benson, a psychologist and author of To Buy or Not to Buy. “We’re both looking at triggers, but marketers want people to buy mindlessly, and we want people to buy mindfully.”

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter

click me