Learning, Memory and Neuromarketing – Week 5 Review

One of my greatest passions in life is learning.  I studied Psychology at A level and degree level because I wanted to find out more about why people the way that they do and I trained and worked as a yoga teacher because I love the effects of yoga practice and coming together with others as a community.

One of the first experiments we studied was about Pavlov’s dogs which demonstrates the process where a connection is formed between a previously neutral stimulus and anther stimulus which evokes a response.  In the case of this well-known experiment dogs were taught to associate the sound of a bell with receiving food.

Image by woodsilver from Pixabay 

When we learn anything, this can be associated with positive and negative engagement.  The CXL course gives as an example of smoking with gruesome pictures of what can go wrong when a person smokes.  For me it didn’t take this much for me to not want to smoke.  I knew that I didn’t want to smell of cigarettes and that the smell of smokers’ breath is dreadful.  On the other hand, I also know the negatives associated with being a diabetic but this is a much harder addiction to crack.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

I really like the website http://www.Beachbodyondemand.com for operant conditions where good behaviours are reinforced.  This website does this in several ways.  I can work out, which leads to encouragement from the instructor a mark of completion for each day that is carried out and the more I spend the better the bundle I receive.

Observational learning was made well known by Albert Bandura who showed that kids would imitate behaviour shown by adults. In this experiment he showed an adult punching a doll and saw how ids imitated this behaviour.  Positive examples are shown on yoga websites where different teachers share their practice, and this raises the profile of the teacher and the profile of the website.  By doing this money has been raised for charities and businesses.

There are four processes which are crucial for this to work.

  1. Attention
  2. Retention
  3. Reproduction and
  4. Motivation

Once we learn something it is encoded into our memory in one of a few ways. Encoding, which is how the information can be used. Storage, which is when information is kept in our memory for use at a later date and retrieval which allows us to bring stored information into conscious awareness.

This can be applied to online marketing through user testing where the user can be asked questions to show how much information they have taken on board.

Some of the tests that can be included are sticky.ai, hotjar and userzoom.

I’ve been reading more about Neuromarketing as part of the CXL course on Psychology and Persuasion.  This module looks at how psychology is used in marketing and starts with ethics and believability. Gerard Zultman of Harvard started that only 5% of our decision-making process is conscious.  Roger Dooley the host for this course explained how as company Disney have done a brilliant job of showing how our emotions guide us to make decisions.  For example, this was shown in a lovely film I saw called Inside Out where a girl’s emotions are shown as characters in her head.  The brain is similar to a factory where there are a few key emotions: happiness, sadness, disgust, anger and fear.  The main promise of this film shows how it is important to have even sadness as an emotion.

Dooley set up the website www.neuromarketing.com and has written several books about neuromarketing including Brainfluence and Friction: The Untapped Force that can be your most Powerful Advantage.  He describes the similarities between digital and traditional marketeers.  The subject of neuroscience shows how the soft sciences can be used to explore marketing decisions.

As shown previously marketeers can use eye tracking to look at the response for information.  EEGs are used for neuro marketing studies.  Eye tracking shows a person’s response to advertising and biometrics using heart rate tracking.  This heart rate tracking shows what affects people when they watch an add.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

There are also social facial coding experts who can measure behaviour. Whereas traditionally a person will observe another’s behaviour this can now be done through web cams and videos which increases the scalability of a person’s behaviour.   As a massive bookworm I love that this course suggests further reading and in this case Malcolm Gladwell’s, Blink as recommended reading.

Neuromarketing is a relatively new area of marketing though this is one of the things I love about studying psychology.  It’s constantly evolving.  One of the things that psychologists do is attempt to replicate research.  Even a few years ago neuromarketers as a concept was dismissed and this is no exaggeration.  50 eminent neuroscientists wrote a letter basically saying that a neuroscience is garbage. This was found in the New York Times (2011).

I love that as part of this course the creators have gone to the trouble of producing videos and the subtitles which are shown at the bottom of the video as a kind of article. So, in an attempt to discover whether studies are true or false scientists attempt to replicate the studies though they found that the research could only be replicated in 30 out of 100 times.  This was more down to bias than fraudulently manipulating the research.  This section of the course goes on to say that for each study there is another study which refutes the first.

Even research on Facial coding has been questioned by Lisa Feldman Barratt who has done work on emotion and who questioned Paul Ekman’s work on facial coding and that it has to be placed into context. I was worried a bit when reading about the lack of successful replication but it is also possible that the studies were not replicated precisely enough to yield accurate results. The solution seems perhaps a little too obvious however it is to test, test and test again and also to use established principles of Science.  In marketing this comes in as an AB test where something is tested in two different ways. One of the most recent acceptances of neuromarketing was carried out by Temple University who compared the results of their research.

Next week I’ll be continuing my blog series by looking at neuromarketing hacks, which  can help to dominate the market.

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