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Do men really know what they want?

Soft or hard presents? We used an EEG scanner to peek inside the brains of our male test subjects, to find out if there's a difference between what men say and what they actually think. Watch the video, and see the results!


Test setup

Nine people were a part of the test. We had them come into the testing facility knowing nothing about what was going to happen, except that they were going to participate in a test about brain waves.

The test was a qualitative test in order to find out if there are any indications that people say one thing while the brain gives off signals that indicate the opposite. Because of the qualitative approach, the test results cannot be defined as conclusive, but more like tendencies or strong indications. Though several test participants originate from different countries and thereby different cultural backgrounds, we chose to disregard this aspect in the test.

The purpose of the test was to focus on the fact that people say one thing, but the brain indicates the opposite. The participants ranged from 22 to 34 years of age. All of the participants were male. The test participants were asked the same questions. To avoid bias caused by the order of which participants were given the presents, we gave 5 of the participants hard presents first, while the other 4 received the soft present first. The testing itself was done in an environment with as few stimuli as possible, reducing the risk of an outside stimulus affecting the results.

This particular test was conducted in a room with 3 cameras, 6 lights, and 1 microphone. We are aware that, although unlikely, the setting might have caused the data to be contaminated to a certain extent. Filming a test, where the outcome has to be worth watching as entertainment, will always be in danger of becoming biased from outside stimuli.

We recorded the tests using Emotiv’s software – EmotivPRO. We realize that we do not have the appropriate resources to get an in-depth understanding of all these points and how they should be properly interpreted. Instead we used an app, MyEmotiv, that interprets all the data in order to make it more comprehensive. You can read more about the software here.

Famous neuromarketing cases and findings

Danish Martin Lindström conducted a test he writes about in this book buy-ology , that revolved around the warnings on cigarette packs. The participants (a large group of chain smokers) were interviewed and asked about how the warnings on the cigarette packs affected them in terms of wanting to smoke. Pretty much all of them said that the warnings definitely had a preventive effect on them.

When the participants were asked the same question while being monitored with an EEG scanner, they answered the same, but their brains literally lit up - the centres in the brain that govern lust and desires showed that the warnings had the opposite effect. The warnings catalyzed the urge for smoking.

Why we're doing neuromarketing

At Trendhim, we realize that people are not always logical human beings. When people explain their actions, choices, and opinions, there are a lot of underlying factors to take into account. The human subconscious is a huge variable that we cannot always control. Often our choices are made based on intuition and not cognitive decision making. Our approach to neuromarketing is not as absolute as many neuromarketing experts may think it should be. The approach we have taken is that neuromarketing is a complementary way of doing research that will only add value if you use the data with other data types (analytics data, Adwords data, mouse tracking data, statistical resources, etc).

How we're doing neuromarketing at Trendhim

When you want to look at people's actions, you really want to understand their intent – why do they choose product X instead of product Y? Why are they leaving the page in the middle of a transaction? Neuromarketing gives us insights into some of the questions that big data can't answer for us. Both the brain scanner and eye tracking are part of how we employ neuromarketing.

Why we worked with Jesper Clement

Jesper Clement is an associate professor at Copenhagen Business School. He is one of the most knowledgeable people in the field of neuromarketing. Copenhagen Business School was named the tenth most prestigious school in the world in 2016. Read more here .

The Equipment

The test was conducted using Emotiv Epoc , which is a portable EEG scanner to be placed on the head. Emotiv Epoc has 16 sensors. These sensors measure the 14 different points in the brain (AF3, F7, F3, FC5, T7, P7, O1, O2, P8, T8, FC6, F4, F8 and AF4) that are regarded as valid when it comes to brain scanning. This equipment offers three different kinds of detection algorithms, all of them built on extensive scientific studies to develop accurate machine learning algorithms that classify and grade the intensity of different conditions.

Performance Metrics

EMOTIV currently measures 6 different emotional and subconscious dimensions in real time – Excitement (Arousal), Interest (Valence), Stress (Frustration), Engagement/Boredom, Attention (Focus), and Meditation (Relaxation). The algorithms for detecting these emotions were developed based on rigorous experimental studies involving more than 20 volunteers for each state, where subjects were taken through experiences to elicit different levels of the desired states. They were wired up with many additional biometric measures (heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, blood volume flow, skin impedance, and eye tracking), observed and recorded by a trained psychologist, and they also self-reported. EMOTIV performance metrics have been validated in many independent peer-reviewed studies .

What is neuromarketing?

To keep the definition of neuromarketing as simple as possible, it is “the method of trying to understand the subconscious mind. The field of neuromarketing is based on the technologies and methods from neuroscience (the study of the human nervous system), behavioral economics (the study of how people make economical decisions), and social psychology (how people think and act in the presence of other people and how the conscious and subconscious brain work together in consumer decision making and behavior).”

The most important and recognized aspects of neuromarketing are:

Facial expressions: the human face registers a wide variety of emotional states. Facial expressions can be interpreted on two levels. 1) Observable changes in expressions (smiles, frowns, etc) and 2) unobservable micro muscle changes (contractions in muscles associated with positive and negative emotional reactions).

Eye Tracking: The measurement of eye movements and pupil dilation while being exposed to stimuli. Eye tracking can be used both as an independent tool and as a supplement to other tools

Electrodermal activity: A measure of perspiration on the skin. Usually electrodermal activity is measured on the fingers.

Respiration and heart rate: The respiratory rate that people exhibit during certain experiences, paired with heart rate data, is an important tool in the neuromarketing toolbox. Heart rate has been found to slow down when attention increases. Fast and deep breathing is associated with excitement.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): Primarily used by academic researchers due to the precise, graphical monitoring of the brain. This technology measures the iron in the blood, thereby becoming able to trace the flow and emotions. fMRI machines are quite expensive and are usually found in hospitals and big research programs.

Electroencephalography (EEG): Probably the most popular neuromarketing technology due to the relative low costs (compared to fMRI and Eye tracking).

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