Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ethical Dimensions of Neuromarketing

Subliminal messaging has always been a fascinating topic: Can we (should we) manipulate people's thoughts, choices, and subsequent behaviors by tapping into their private subconscious space, below the threshold of conscious perception? Subliminal messaging via wearing headphones to listening to recordings meant to induce weight loss or confidence-building has been deemed as the relatively innocuous self-help realm. Subliminal messaging used for marketing purposes has been greeted with a bit more judgment and suspicion. We know that current marketing techniques utilize interviews with focus groups to sell a variety of products. These interview data are then correlated with behavioral (purchasing decision) data. But why not cut out the middle (wo)man--namely you, the consumer--and go straight to your brain?