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Brain Activity Predicts Population Behaviour

Brain Activity Predicts Population Behaviour

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, University of Oregon and University of California, it was found that measuring brain behaviour of just a few people in a pilot study could predict the activity of larger populations.

31 members of a quit-smoking campaign in the greater Los Angeles area were recruited for the study. Their neural activity was measured as they viewed television ads organized by public health organizations that promoted quitting smoking. Of the 16 total advertisements, 10 of them wrapped up with “1-800-QUIT-NOW”, otherwise known as the Quitline.

1-800-QUIT-NOW Quitline

1-800-QUIT-NOW Quitline

The success of each advertisement for a larger population was measured through monitoring the Quitline call centre volume one month before, and one month after each ad was aired.

After the participants were exposed to the ads, they were asked to express their opinions on them. Overall, the participants rated Campaign B the highest, followed by Campaign A then Campaign C. However, their brain responses, specifically in the prefrontal medial cortex (an area of the brain related to positive responses to persuasive messages) elicited a conflicting response. The brain scans preferred Campaign C the most, followed by B, then A.

Neural Focus Group Predicts Population-Level Media Effects

Neural Focus Group Predicts Population-Level Media Effects

It was found that the popularity of the advertisements throughout the overall Quitline population directly mirrored the participants’ brain responses.

The article states: “The current study suggests that, using a prior ROIs, behavioral responses of entire populations whose brains are never examined may be inferred from the brain activations of a small neural focus group.”

This is an exciting breakthrough for the neuromarketing world, which scientifically proves we are able to use neuro-imaging as a means to predict successful advertising campaigns.

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