Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Neuroscience: Your local marketing research pest is getting into the action ...

Here's a type of study I would like to see less of:

From Nature Precedings: Prepublication research and Preliminary Findings, here's part of the abstract:

Received 30 January 2009 08:57 UTC; Posted 09 February 2009

Subjects: Neuroscience

Tags: neuroimaging Methods Marketing research Neuromarketing

We now stand at a juncture where cognitive function can be mapped in the time, space and frequency domains, as and when such activity occurs. These advanced techniques have led to discoveries in many fields of research and clinical science, including psychology and psychiatry. Unfortunately, neuroscientific techniques have yet to be enthusiastically adopted by the social sciences. Market researchers, as specialized social scientists, have an unparalleled opportunity to adopt cognitive neuroscientific techniques and significantly redefine the field and possibly even cause substantial dislocations in business models. Following from this is a significant opportunity for more commercially-oriented researchers to employ such techniques in their own offerings. This report examines the feasibility of these techniques.
I hope this goes nowhere. Market research is a big enough social pest already.

It's tolerable if we understand it as part of a sales strategy (those people gotta make a living). But pretending it is science is a fringe too far, I am afraid.

I believe that neuroscience should stay anchored closely to medicine. Urgent issues confront medical professionals - how to help children with development or behaviour disorders, adults with mental problems, seniors with reduced mental abilities, recovering victims of accidents and disease. What works and what doesn't are worthy challenges.

Figuring out what happens when someone decides to buy red hot scarlet pants as opposed to mean green ones is trivial - and may not really be knowable, precisely because it is so trivial.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

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