Neuromarketing: Linking Brain and Emotions to Marketing


Emotional engagement is very important in marketing research. With respect to emotional engagement, emotional valence (how pleasant or unpleasant the emotion is) and emotional arousal (how calming or exciting the emotion is; Bradley, Greenwald, Petry, & Lang, 1992; Russel, 1980) are the two most important determiners of action. Generally, emotions are expressed at three different stages: individual’s subjective experience, his expressive behavior, and through his physiological changes (Ekman, 1992). So, in order to understand brain engagement in marketing, it is indispensable to study emotional responses to marketing stimuli and therefore record the neurophysiological responses (i.e. brain activity) associated with the subjective emotional response, (Ekman, 1992). Human emotions are strong mediators with respect to a consumer’s processing of the incumbent messages, interpreting and exhibiting cognitive responses to selling messages. When exposed to some stimuli, and the individual is getting ready for some response, it implies that there is a physiological pattern for each emotion.

The Human brain works like a big system. It processes information that it receives from the external and internal environment and sends messages back to the body. But the human brain can do much more than a system can: humans can think about any situation or subject and experience emotions with their brain, and it is the root of human intelligence. The human brain is rough of the size of two fists and weighs about 1.5 kilograms. From outside it looks like a walnut, with folds and crevices. Brain tissue is made up of about 100 billion neurons and more than one trillion supporting cells which stabilize the tissue. There are various sections of the brain; each of the portions has their specific functions: Cerebrum, diencephalon, brain stem and cerebellum. The cerebrum has two portions; it is called the right and left hemispheres. These two hemispheres are well connected by the corpus callosum. Each hemisphere is made up of six lobes that have different functions. The cerebrum controls movement and processes sensory information and all conscious and unconscious actions and feelings are produced here. It is also responsible for speech, hearing, intelligence and memory of human being. The functions of these two hemispheres are different: the left hemisphere is responsible for speech and abstract thinking the right hemisphere is usually responsible for spatial thinking or imagery. The right side of the brain controls the left side of the human body, and the left side of the brain controls the right side of the human body.

The left cerebral cortex of the human brain is mainly responsible for language and speech. It has been discovered by the scientist that the right cerebral cortex poses spatial information. The thalamus provides the cerebrum with different sensory information from the skin, eyes, and ears, as well as other information from the external environment Whether in interaction with society or with nature, decisions are often the result of complex interactions between many factors of the environment. Till date, researchers have so far considered the information about the final decision that an individual sensory neuron carries, those sensory neurons whose activity contains information are vital to reaching the final decision. The problem with this approach is that all the neurons are constantly communicating with each other and “joined in” the conversation. Actually, the nearby cell also passes out some crucial signals transmitted to the higher decision process in the brain.

Brain imaging is the most remarkable psychophysiological method, as it allows directly visualizing precisely which region in the brain has been activated by a particular stimulus. Some pleasure and motivation centers of the brain act as ‘buy button’ in the head and can be linked with controlling consumer behavior and preferences (Senior and Lee 2008). Consumers are largely motivated by what makes them feel good, especially when it comes to their purchasing decisions. In this context, companies have engaged their marketing teams to understand the human brain and its functioning that will help them better understand consumers. The hypothesis is that human brain activity can offer marketers with data that not achievable through conventional marketing research methods (Ariely & Berns, 2010). Calvert & Brammer, 2012 asserts that, as a lot of information processing towards consumer decision making occur at a subconscious level, the traditional methods of data collection might not yield complete data, a more detailed and scientific method is called for.

Hubert and Kenning (2008) differentiate the concept of consumer neuroscience from neuromarketing. They assert that neuroscience is the scientific development of explanatory models for consumer behaviors, and neuromarketing is the application of these findings within the scope of managerial practice. Neuromarketing captures methods and insights from brain research. Probing into a budding but fast-growing field called neuromarketing that employs brain-tracking tools to understand why we like what we like, helps marketers predict how to make consumers like a product. Marketing research methods have always targeted towards understanding and predicting the significance of advertising campaigns. Marketers hypothesize that people are actually able to define their own cognitive process which is composed of many subconscious components. The arrival of neuroimaging methods has provided exciting methodological alternatives that sanction marketers to investigate the consumers’ brains in order to procure valuable insights on the subconscious processes that occur before a purchase decision is made. This will finally infer as to why a message in due course succeeds or fails. There are various approaches to measure physiological responses to advertising and marketing, however, there are three proper and handiest noninvasive techniques for measuring and charting brain activity: first electroencephalography (EEG), second magnetoencephalography (MEG) and third practical magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

By Dr. Tanusree Chakraborty
Associate Professor, Rajalakshmi School of Business, Chennai
Email –

  1. According to this blog neuro-marketing and emotion of marketing are inter-connected term which work toward left and right cerebral cortex of the human brain in which one stores, collect the information, other visualize the information to store it for long time.

    So regular medication and concern yoga is very important to bring in practice.

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