<trp-post-container data-trp-post-id='24487'>Science cognitive and studies marketing

Cyborg profile portrait with brain explosion fragments on black background

Cognitive science and neuroscience are very much in vogue today in the small world of marketing and market research: but what can we really expect from them?
Some people are proposing to replicate experiments carried out in university laboratories in our own field: using MRI, for example, we can see which areas of the brain come alive when certain values are associated with certain brands; apart from the fact that you have to cross the border to set up such protocols (Belgian legislation being more flexible than French), you have to weigh up the real benefits of such approaches against the risks involved: marketing is already accused enough of manipulating the masses!

It's better to use the new knowledge generated by these disciplines to improve our tools and refine our approaches.
Damasio, in L'erreur de Descartes, points out that reason and emotion are housed in the same folds of our brain: trying to cut ourselves off from our emotions in order to increase the rationality of our judgement can only lead to the opposite of the desired result.
In the field of advertising communication, there is no reason to erase the emotional aspects of technical B2B ads, or conversely to banish all technical references from highly subjective spots.

In marketing research, we understand how important it is to skilfully combine the emotional and the rational, whatever the subject, so as not to run the risk of speaking only to a consumer who has been artificially rendered incapable of expressing what he really thinks. A fortiori in creative studies, the ability of participants to 'mentalise' (cf. Pierre Marty), i.e. to have the capacity to think in an open and fluid way, without dogma and while remaining connected to their feelings, is key.
Cognitive science also teaches us that within our brain there are memories that can be verbalised and others that cannot - and that these are not in the same place, of course.
An interesting experiment was carried out using an MRI to observe the active areas of the brain when patients performed certain everyday tasks, such as entering the digicode for their block of flats. When you move in, you have to learn your new code: the MRI shows that it's the semantic memory (the memory of information you've learned, such as your multiplication tables at school) that's at work; a few months later, you press the keys without thinking... and it's another part of the brain that gets activated: the procedural memory (the memory of automatic actions you perform, such as driving a car or brushing your teeth).

Information has migrated from one part of our cortex to another: there's no point in looking for it where it no longer exists!
So there's no point in asking consumers how they carry out certain actions that they do every day: it's better to observe them.
Our semantic memory is not the only one we can verbalise: our episodic memory, which contains the events we have experienced, is also verbalisable; however, it will certainly not be called upon in the same way as our semantic memory: to access it, we will often have to provide our interlocutor with a starting point to hold on to, and from which everything will spring back, a little like Proust and his famous "little madeleine".

When it comes to marketing research, cognitive science should be seen as a knowledge base that enriches and refines the range of traditional approaches: replicating medical scientific research does not add much, once the show-off aspects have been set aside.

They we have fact confidence. Discover our achievements