Friday, December 29, 2006

ON the 'Joy' Switch

In the latest issue of Economist, an interesting article on Human Emotion drew my attention. Dr. Tor Wager from the Columbia University in New York carried out a meta-analysis (after collecting fMRI studies on emotion) of human emotion thereby producing an emotional map of the brain.

Most neuroscientists recognise six basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness and surprise. Dr. Wager shows how fMRI can be used to see the link between different parts of the brain involved in the emotional process. The evolution and function of these emotions is bound up with an area of research called, "Theory of mind."

With my very little knowledge about the subject, after reading the article, I started thinking, we (advertising professionals) often try to capture the EQ of our consumers. Spend lot of money on research to find what motivates them. Maybe we shall in the near future also start applying these new technology and techniques. Will we be able to capture the emotion of the Indian public through a fMRI study (which tells us to hit the 'Joy' part of his left brain on the frontal lobe?) Can we ensure a change in his shopping behavior? Will he start buying into my brand? Question here is, do we see the picture through the eyes of our consumer?

End of the day, it is our 'Gut Feel' that needs to be communicated in the most entertaining manner and not images of a brain scan. I think my new year resolution would be to shun away from all FGD and spend time in understanding a person better. Out of a billion people, maybe I can manage to know 50 people inside-out in 2007.

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