Ad industry continues its focus on brain research, inc. meeting at Harvard U

[we have covered this topic in our book and on this blog. Here’s a story from the April 2008 issue of Media Magazine–excerpt]

The meeting, held in a lecture room of the Harvard Business School, was hosted by four leading research organizations that are trying to figure out how to apply the fledgling field of neuroscience to media and marketing research, and to find out whether biometric technologies that map the brain’s responses to media stimuli can be used the way Madison Avenue has used conventional forms of audience research like Nielsen’s TV ratings.

In fact, the field is so promising that Nielsen itself is jumping into it. The media research giant recently acquired NeuroFocus, a Cambridge, Mass.-based firm that is beginning to apply neuroscience to advertising research…What social research was to advertising and media 50 years ago, neurological research promises to be for the next half century…By mapping and understanding how the brain responds to advertising and media stimuli, he [Gerald Zaltman] suggested, researchers would have empirical knowledge about what kinds of advertising and media content were most engaging to consumers. Because the brain – and how it remembers things – is malleable, Zaltman says, it’s not possible to use a map of someone’s thought processes to create rules of thumb. Rather, researchers must use the information to understand how people “coauthor” messages. In other words, people don’t just passively absorb and process information, but react to it, append it and make the content their own. And depending on when and where they are exposed to it, the content could be processed very differently.”

source: Going Mental. Joe Mandese. Media Magazine. April 2008

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