There is a "new" buzzword in marketing and advertising: brain science. Market research has caught the buzz too, with quite a number of good papers and articles published over the last few years. But for many of us, the buzz is a bit of a mystery, and for some an irritant. The problem is, that whilst we've heard a lot about the theory, not too much has been written about the practical consequences. My view is simple: that the issues raised by brain science are simply too big to ignore, and we need to do something about it. Hence I am writing this, to build a bridge between theory and practice. The first part deals with the theory, but the (longer) second part looks at the practical consequences for our industry.
Market research grew up under the influence of mid 20th century cognitive science, and many (particularly quantitative) researchers, feel more at home with the cognitive aspects of behaviour than with the unconscious and emotional. But life (and the human sciences) moves on, and in the last two decades, brain science has challenged our view of the human mind and how works. By reuniting psychology with philosophy and biology, its shifts the scientific focus back onto the mysteries of consciousness and emotion. Increasingly, we've come to understand that unlocking the mystery of consciousness actually depends on figuring out the unconscious functions of the brain. Not Freud's unconscious - a repository for repressed memories – but rather the many things the brain does that are not available to consciousness.