The Brain: Marketing To Your Mind

With new scanning technologies, smart companies may soon sell their products directly to the decider in chief: the brain itself

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Photo-Illustration for TIME by Mark Hooper

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That's certainly music to advertisers' ears, but, warn neuroscientists, it's unlikely that our purchasing behavior follows a single pathway. Montague, for one, is investigating how factors like trust, altruism and the feeling of obligation when someone does you a favor can divert and modify steps in the decision-making tree. "The capacity to use brain responses and relate them to behavior has accelerated at a breathtaking pace over the past four years and yielded an incredible amount of information," he says. How marketers use that data to hone their messages remains to be seen.

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