Ethical Issues Surrounding Neuromarketing Sub Topics: Brief Introduction, Brief History, Mri, Functional Mri (Fmri), Ethical Issues And Ethical Comebacks

2387 words - 10 pages

The marketing field of neuromarketing can be considered as a relatively new marketing research discipline where science and marketing meet, which many consumers and the general public would be unaware of. Neuromarketing delves beyond the traditional marketing tools of qualitative and quantitative research and is now taking advantage of advances in technology. Instead of the traditional research methods, neuroscientists and marketers are now turning their focus on what is actually happening inside consumer's brains when they receive marketing messages or use products or services.Neuromarketing can be defined as the study of how consumer's brains respond to advertising messages and measuring ...view middle of the document...

Nevertheless although the brain had been formally studied for hundreds of years, it was not until the late 1990's that modern brain imaging technology started to be used for marketing research purposes. Researchers at Harvard University developed this new approach in order to test and improve the effectiveness of ads. The underlying principle for this was based on approximations made by neuroscientists who believed that as much as 95% of brain activity could be subconscious (Zaltman, 2003). Furthermore, since behavior is largely caused by emotion (LeDoux, 1998) understanding emotion, that is largely unconscious, would direct to the understanding of behavior (Barrett et al, 2007), which is what marketing research eventually seeks to achieve. Thus came the ideology of neuromarketing, where scientists believed that with this 'imagery' consumer might be driven toward preference, purchase and loyalty if their subconscious emotions are stimulated appropriately. Furthermore, if marketing targeted brain areas associated to reward, empathy, bonding (Nadkarni, 2006) ), curiosity, pleasure (Dias,2006), identity (Mahoney, 2005), attention, concentration and memorization (Tiltman, 2005), marketing endeavors would give way to greater results. Stimuli is used in neuromarketing, which can be aural stimuli, visual stimuli and tactile or any combination thereof, with the possibility to envelop wide marketing fundamentals such as pricing, products, packaging and advertising. Those stimuli that produce the strongest and most positive responses during research are later reinforced to improve the effectiveness of marketing efforts (Grose, 2006).] [Neuromarketing uses different neuroimaging technologies with fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) being its main one (Smidts, 2002). This technology was at first planned for medical research, as it relies on strong magnetic fields and radio waves to trace the flow of blood into the areas of the brain where neural activity is taking place (Grose, 2006). By taking snapshots every couple of seconds, very precise and thorough 3D images can be acquired telling how the brain is reacting and processing marketing information (Tiltman, 2005). Promoters of neuromarketing argue that examining consumer's subconscious responses towards marketing variables provides a far better understanding than conservative business research methods. Since subconscious reactions are normally involuntary, meaning they cannot be false, hidden or tempered with, mean that they provide objective and reliable insights, preferably suited for market research (Ahuja, 2006). This in turn allows marketers to develop a more efficient marketing mix and eventually satisfying consumers better (Grose, 2006).Those against this practice lay blame on scientifically pursuing the "buy key" in consumers brains, with the potential to create alluring campaigns, dominating an individual's freedom of choice (Nature Neuroscience, 2004), turning consumers into...

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