Six Selling Secrets from Magicians

If you think that magicians and neuroscientists have little to talk about, you’d be wrong: both deal with issues like attention and consciousness, albeit in a different way. And, as it turns out, marketers can learn from both groups, and in particular, from understanding why magicians can fool us even when we are trying to pay attention.

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Keep It Simple for Boomers & Seniors

Targeting Boomers or seniors with your advertising? Keep it simple. While that’s usually good advice for any kind of advertising, brain scans show a dramatic difference in the ability of older brains to suppress distracting information. Studies by Dr. Adam Gazzaley (then at UC Berkeley, now at UC San Francisco) found the suppression difference in older vs. younger brains was the key factor in memory formation decline in older people.


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Stories Synchronize Brains

An ongoing story (so to speak) here at Neuromarketing is the power of stories to engage readers and listeners. Now, there’s new brain scan evidence that shows a startling phenomenon: when one person tells a story and the other actively listens, their brains actually begin to synchronize.

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The Invisible Gorilla

Review: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us, by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons

Before reading farther, watch this video if you haven’t already seen it:

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What’s Your Mind-Diet? Clay Shirky versus Nick Carr

There has been a wonderful debate going on in the pages of the Wall Street Journal between Clay Shirky and Nick Carr. Carr became famous for his IT Doesn’t Matter article and has ridden his technology contrarianism to a fantastic intellectual franchise. I have yet to read his newest book, The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains, but according to reviewers I respect like Mark McDonald over at Gartner, the book seems to be a worthwhile review of relevant literature showing how the use of new media, including new digital technologies, can cause poorer performance for  important thinking tasks. 

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The Brain That Changes Itself

Book Review: The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge

For centuries, the human brain was considered largely immutable after childhood. We were told that we had all the brain cells we’d ever get by the time we were adolescents.

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Luxury, Left Brain, Right Brain

Popular psychology simplifies the different functions of our brain hemispheres by using “left brain” to indicate analytical thinking and “right brain” to mean creativity and emotion. That may be a bit of an oversimplification, but it’s a useful shorthand. In The Luxury Strategy, authors J. N. Kapferer and V. Bastien emphasize the need for a management team that has both characteristics.

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Body Image: Men vs. Women

Browse through the magazines at the supermarket checkout line, and you’ll find that almost every one oriented to a female audience has some kind of a weight loss plan on the cover. Male-oriented magazines, meanwhile, are more likely to show an attractive woman instead of a guy showing off the results of his three-week miracle diet. While one might attribute the glut of diet articles to the overall rate of obesity in the U.S., new research shows that the magazine editors may be exploiting body image concerns that are “hardwired” into the brains of all women.

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Food, Shelter, and Big Words

Decades ago, Abraham Maslow proposed that humans had a hierarchy of needs, with food being at the most basic level of biological need and shelter one step above as part of a “safety” need. He may have been on the right track, according to new research led by Marcel Just at Carnegie Mellon University. The researchers exposed subjects to a series of nouns while monitoring their brain activity in an fMRI machine, and recorded which areas of the subjects brain were activated by each noun.

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You Are What You Choose

Book Review: You Are What You Choose – The Habits of Mind that REALLY Determine How We Make Decisions, by Scott de Marchi and James T. Hamilton

Based on the title and cover art, which shows a head stuffed with objects, I anticipated that You Are What You Choose would be chock full of decision-making insights based on neuroscience and behavioral research. Instead, de Marchi and Hamilton mostly talk about their TRAITS system for categorizing individuals and then predicting subsequent behavior.

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