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Tapping into the Unconscious

By Anthony Bell

In a recent article, Dan Hill, author of Emotionomics, discusses the shift from the traditional rational approach to an emotional awareness in the research process. Science has shown that human beings have three brains, the rational, emotional and sensory.  As we become more knowledgeable around brain activity, scientists have found that rational activity is almost an afterthought. The emotional brain sends ten times as many signals to the rational as vice versa. The emotional response happens first and happens five times more quickly than the rational response.  Innovative tools, such as facial recognition systems, are being introduced to capture emotional responses. Since verbal abilities reside in the rational part of the brain, researchers in the future are going to need to be emotionally literate. Research must go beyond the traditional rational understanding to capture intuitive, subconscious reactions.

MREB View: Dan Hill explains that only 5% of thought occurs consciously. That means focus groups, surveys, and interviews, staples of the research process, only assess 5% of a consumer’s decision. Research needs to tap into the other 95% of the brain that is driving their purchase decisions.  Implicit research techniques can uncover those emotional drivers that aren’t triggered in a traditional research setting.Explore non-traditional methods for conducting research:

  • Emotional research techniques are designed to help consumers tap into emotions that drive behavior.
  • Natural observation of the decision-making process presents an unbiased view into customers’ purchasing decisions.
  • Sensory research taps into the anatomical expression of thought and emotions.

MREB members, check out our research brief, Revealing Hidden Purchase Drivers, for an overview of emotional, sensory, and natural observation techniques and learn about the application and limitations of using these techniques.

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