A short introduction to neuroscience

A computer generated view of trustworthy versus fearsome, Princeton University Research

Affective neuroscience analyzes the brain and comes into play when, where and how emotions are being used. Emotional based decision making is something that can be influenced and already effectively applied to many aspects in your daily life. Commercials on TV, advertisements in magazines and pamphlets to more politically themed posters whenever it’s time to take a vote are all backed by science. Carefully thought out methods are used to eventually persuade the viewer into buying or voting. A research based approach in marketing makes a difference between a win and a loss when it comes to a campaign. Today we’re going to share a few methods that are being widely used today:

Erik de Kuijper
WCG GmbH & Co.KG

You can only make one first impression, so you better make it count. When it comes to politicians or using a person to promote a brand or product, this impression is worth votes or money. People instantly judge faces to guide them in how they feel about a person. Through research we know exactly what facial features trigger the appearance of trustworthiness. So what should we adjust to make a person appear more trustworthy for that important first impression

Studies have shown that how facial features are perceived suggest that:

  • A more rounded face with a broader chin,
  • a wide mouth with upward pointing corners,
  • bigger eyes and eyebrows that are closer together,

are important factors for what is generally perceived as trustworthy. These facial features are also generally more common amongst people with brown eyes. This doesn’t mean all people shown in advertisements should fit this profile from now on. But it does give an idea on what facial features we could make slightly more prominent to improve credibility for that very important first Impression.

Next time during a commercial break, take notice on the context in how the product is being delivered. Whatever comes into screen is carefully placed to set the mood they plan on associating with the item. Take for example that washing detergent. The sun is shining, butterflies are flapping around and the world is filled with flowers and serenity and there’s a happy white teddy bear playing in fresh laundry. Washing your clothes with this product really takes you to a happy place. The next time you see this brand in the supermarket your subconscious self now connects this product with this happy place thus making it more likely to select it over the other brands, where you simply have no happy associations with.

A famous marketing tactic is product placement in TV and Movies. As a viewer this alternative form of advertising actually has an advantage. A company advertising through product placement eliminates the need for the network to generate more revenue by adding extra commercial breaks. This increases the viewing pleasure for the user and is effective because it speaks to your subconscious self.

Mirror neurons operate in your brain. And all day these neurons read emotions in other people’s vocal and face gestures and react to it. When you see someone in fear you also feel fear, when you see pain you feel pain, when someone yawns you feel the urge to yawn as well. In terms of advertising this mirroring effect is being used showing people actually using and interacting with a car, phone or computer. In contrast to just showing the design of a product, how pretty it may be, actually having the product being used speaks to our empathy. Because of this the next time we walk in a store and see this product we already feel how it would be to use it.

These are just a few examples of how neuroscience in advertising is used. 

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