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Buyer beware: Advertising may seduce your brain, UCLA researchers say
Date:9/20/2011

as recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). Each participant was shown 24 ads that had appeared in magazines and newspapers.

Ads using LP images included a table of facts and figures about cigarette products, details about how to build a better toothbrush and suggestions about selecting food for dogs on the basis of their activity level. In contrast, sample NI-type advertisements included beading water (liquor ad), an image of an attractive woman standing with legs apart (jeans ad) and a woman leapfrogging over a fire hydrant erupting with a water spray as a man enthusiastically grins behind her (cigarette ad).

The researchers found that viewing LP images was consistently linked with significantly higher activity levels in the orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate regions, the amygdala, and the hippocampus, all areas of the brain involved in decision-making and/or emotional processing.

The finding reinforces the hypothesis that preferences for purchasing goods and services may be shaped by many factors, including advertisements presenting logical, persuasive information and those employing images or text that may modify behavior without requiring conscious recognition of a message.

"Because the results showed that in response to non-rational sensory inputs, activity was lower in areas of the brain that help us inhibit responses to stimuli," said Cook, "the findings support the conjecture that some advertisers wish to seduce, rather than persuade, consumers to buy their products."


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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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