DOES NEUROMARKETING HAVE A CODE OF ETHICS OR IS IT MANIPULATORY?
Paraphrasing a fragment of the famous book by Daniel Goleman (👀 1), entitled "Focus", about the superior attention and the inferior attention of the Mind, Goleman tells us something very interesting about the brain, which invites us to see it in a way beyond what we know.
What we know is that the brain has two hemispheres as shown below:
On the other hand, we also know that the brain has three evolutionary layers as seen in the following graph (👀 2):
Which is your dominant brain?
• Reptilian brain, with the "innards" as an essential characteristic: guided by instinct, does not allow time for reflection, intuition is essential in decisions, is attracted by material advantage and tempted to easily gain control over a group. (👀 3).
• Limbic brain, with the "heart" as its essential characteristic: it is carried away by its emotions, it is imbued with a spirit of sacrifice, it appreciates recognition that is perceived as rare and disproportionate compared to the efforts provided, it adapts to the context and to others. (👀4)
• Neocortex, with "head" as essential feature: is directed by reasoning, wants to accumulate information, discloses very little of own feelings and emotions, never acts impulsively, sometimes he tends to withdraw from social life. (👀 5)
Considering the two "classical" visions of seeing the brain raised above this text, the revolutionary thing that Goleman proposes to us in his book "Focus" is that we can "compile" the aforementioned knowledge, considering from another angle, that the The brain has two separate and relatively independent mental systems, like two minds running simultaneously. It is in other words what Julian Jaynes proposed to us in his book published in 1976 "The Origin of Consciousness in the rupture of the Bicameral Mind", when he explained to us that we have two minds, one "A Mind that Speaks to us" and another " Who Listens", but, nevertheless, the two minds are ourselves. (👀 6)
Goleman, states that "ascending" mental activity, from the bottom up, is typical of the lower brain and its circuits are used by reflective attention, impulse and routine habits. (👀 7).
Ascending loops, from the bottom up, encourage short-term thinking, impulse thinking, and quick decision making ; it is as if they are together the reptilian and limbic brain mentioned above.
Descending circuitry, from top to bottom, is primarily neocortical in origin, which controls and imposes its goals on subcortical functioning and its circuits are those used by voluntary attention, will, and intentional decision. It is slower in its functioning than the ascending mind.
The descending circuits add to our mind talents such as self-awareness, reflection, deliberation and planning; is the neocortex itself mentioned above.
NEUROMARKETING, ANGEL OR DEMON?
Angel for our personal and spiritual growth:
This knowledge of the ascending and descending mind of Daniel Goleman, confirms what was said for several centuries by the great mystics, who said that, through concentration, reflection and meditation the conscious (downstream) mind can "impact" the unconscious (upstream) mind to create quick and automatic responses.
In other words, all new learning done constantly and persistently moves from conscious to unconscious, creating automatic responses as if we were on "autopilot".
For example, when we learn to drive, we do it clumsily through the descending (conscious) mind, but when that new learning has already "permeated" the ascending (conscious) mind, unconscious), is when we start to drive in "automatic" and we no longer put our attention (as when we were learning), on the gear lever, the brake and the accelerator; it is when we can "divide" our attention between driving the car and listening to the radio.
Demon when we are manipulated:
As we know, this knowledge of the "Ascending Mind" has been widely exploited by Marketing, to determine and direct (manipulate?) the decision-making of consumers about products and services. Hence the elegant concept of "Neuromarketing" was born.
In 1957, it was discussed whether subliminal advertising, (👀 8), affected the purchasing behavior of consumers; years later we know that the answer is affirmative and that it is based on the discoveries of Neuroscience.
The objective of subliminal advertising, It does not intend to be memorable but to generate an impact at a subconscious level that activates certain impulses in consumers"; what Daniel Goleman calls the ascending mind.
People who are shown images of happy faces flashing on a screen at a rate too fast to consciously register (although clearly noted by the upstream systems, however), drink more than when those fleeting images feature angry faces.
It has been concluded that, no matter how much we determine our choices, people are “fundamentally unaware” of the subtle forces of Marketing.
For example, the discreet entrance to the Magic Kingdom under the train station is curious, or the posters of outstanding attractions, which are just a prelude to the adventures that we are going to enjoy in the park and, as in any movie theater, one of the first things we would smell would be popcorn. (👀 9)
How important as a business is popcorn to Disney? Well, if the data from "Disneyaddicts" is correct, each year the Walt Disney World parks in Orlando produce 147,000 kilos of popcorn, which translates to 5.3 million bags; if each bag sells for US$5.25 on average, Disney's annual income from this concept is US$27,825,000; more numbers, fewer numbers, Neuromarketing does work for the sale of Disney popcorn... Manipulation?
Deepening this topic of the unconscious (ascending) mind, Daniel Goleman tells us that we are programmed to pay reflex attention to supra-normal stimuli, whether it be for our safety, nutrition or sex, like the cat that he can't help but chase a fake mouse on a rope.
This is the kind of pre-installed bias that advertising currently plays with in an attempt to catch our reflex attention. And it is that it is enough to associate sex or prestige with a product to activate the circuits that, through unnoticed paths, predispose us to buy it. And our specific tendencies make us, in this sense, even more vulnerable.
Hence, images of vacation getaways that appeal to sexy people are more mobilizing to those who are more interested in sex, and alcoholics are more susceptible
to vodka ads.
This capture of upward preselected attention occurs in a
a mode that is both automatic and involuntary.
We are more exposed to emotions guiding our mind in this way when we are wandering, when we are distracted or when we are overwhelmed by information, or in all three cases at the same time.< /p>
There are companies like the "HubSpot" case mentioned by Dan Lyons (👀 10) in his book "Disruption: My misadventure in the startup bubble" (👀 11), which have intensively addressed neuromarketing for the sale of their products and services. As an example, "HubSpot" (👀 12), shares a blog written by 👀Shelley Pursell, about "Neuromarketing", which defines it as follows:
Neuromarketing is the study of people's mental processes and buying behaviors; it applies principles of neuroscience in order to understand how people interact with a brand, what are their desires, motivations, interests and root causes for making a purchase".
To understand brain mechanisms, we must focus on the unconscious, since decisions are usually made by motivations that arise in the back of the mind, although the brain makes us believe that they were made rationally. In fact, a study by Harvard University indicates that 95% of purchase decisions are made unconsciously.
The Blog is undoubtedly very good, however, an unpleasant process occurs, when "once the reader is hooked", Shelley offers to "download" a free template for design a marketing plan, in exchange for leaving your contact information.
I remember that in his book by Dan Lyons he mentions that "HubSpot" knows when users are connected to his page and, at that moment, they approach through a message text to users, which does not stop causing "surprise and fear".
In many universities and master's institutions "Neuromarketing" is taught as part of the core subjects, however, it would be worth asking if fundamental elements such as Ethics in Business, since if it was essential a few years ago, at this time it is much more important because advertising, news, commercial marketing and political marketing could be accused of frank manipulation.
In fact, Shelley Pursell at the end of her blog, she suggests eleven strategies for the application of neuromarketing among which number three caught my attention which goes like this: 3. Go for basic instincts
One of the most basic instincts is fear, which is why it is common to see that in certain situations people start to buy an item and others do too, out of a fear that is leading towards something."
Still, keep in mind that if you touch the very basics of the brain, the viewer will react immediately bypassing the neocortex part; therefore, you will not rationalize your impulse. It is a technique that should be used with caution so as not to tarnish the image of the brand through unethical practices.
1) Daniel Goleman, Biography: https://www.danielgoleman.info/biography/
2) Debruche, Valerie. Calculate your Enneagram of Personality. Ed. 50 Minutes. https://www.scribd.com/book/344113371/Calculate-your-enneagram-of-personality-The-keys-to-know-yourself-better-and-be-more-effective
3) What Kind of Brain Do You Have? . Omniverse - eaBC. https://www.eabc.website/post/que-tipo-de-cerebro-tienes-tú
4) Between Good and Evil. Omniverse - eaBC. https://www.eabc.website/post/entre-el-bien-y-el-mal-por-qué-la-gente-hace-lo-que-hace
5) The Hidden Agenda of the Trump Summit - AMLO. https://www.eabc.website/post/los-dos- happy-compadres
6) Jaynes, Julian. The Origin of Consciousness, in the Rupture of the Bicameral Mind". https: //www.julianjaynes.org/resources/books/ooc/en/
7) Psychology and Mind: https://psicologiaymente.com/biografias/daniel-goleman
8) What is Subliminal Advertising? eserp Digital Business & Law School. https://es.eserp.com/articulos/publicidad-subliminal-ejemplos-practicos/
9) Disneyaddicts: https://www.disneyadictos.com/2011/06/the-popcorn-an- icon-in-walt.html
10) Lyons, Dan. https://danlyons.io/
11) Lyons, Dan. Disruption: My misadventure in the startup bubble. Captain Swing Books, S. L. Spain. 2021. https: //en.scribd.com/book/545820840/Disruption-My-misadventure-in-the-startup-bubble
12) HubSopt, "What is neuromarketing? Characteristics, types and examples". Hubspot.