Neurology is now being applied to persuading others through communication. The NYT article, "Ads that Whisper to the Brain" reveals techniques used to discover what activates the human brain when somebody watches a commercial.
Researches use electroencephalographs (EEGs) to measure brain waves that become more active when people have heightened attention to determine if they are engaged by the commercial.
According to the article, "Neuromarketing’s raison d’être derives from the fact that the brain expends only 2 percent of its energy on conscious activity, with the rest devoted largely to unconscious processing. Thus, neuromarketers believe, traditional market research methods — like consumer surveys and focus groups — are inherently inaccurate because the participants can never articulate the unconscious impressions that whet their appetites for certain products.
If pitches are to succeed, they need to reach the subconscious level of the brain, the place where consumers develop initial interest in products, inclinations to buy them and brand loyalty, says A. K. Pradeep, the founder and chief executive of NeuroFocus, a neuromarketing firm based in Berkeley, Calif."
What does this mean for consumers? Well, first off researchers haven't made the connection between brain wave activation and the purchasing of products, so it may be a mute point. But, the effort to influence consumers through communication is as old as time.
What is helpful is to be aware of the power of communication, both as a broadcaster and a consumer. What you say and how you say it influences others. And what you see and hear influences you. Being aware is the key. Being aware, you can acknowledge the sudden hunger that arises after watching an Oreo ad, or the desire to become involved after hearing a compelling political message. Being aware, you can acknowledge the influence of persuasive communication on yourself. As for the subconscious thoughts, well, you still have the power to choose your actions.