How Psychopaths Changed Advertising



 

Bizarrely, emotion was first discovered as a powerful advertising tool during experiments for psychosis in the 1950’s. Doctors had hypothesised that psychopaths lack empathy and would therefore be unaffected by emotional events. Further to this, they proposed that psychopaths would be undisturbed from their daily routine and tasks by any emotional events.
 
Their experiment asked both psychopaths and a control group (not psychopaths) to do a collection of mathematical puzzles. They then played shocking news stories and emotive music when they were half way through the puzzles.
 
The results showed that, as expected, the psychopaths were completely undisturbed by the news stories taking the same time to complete the puzzles whether the stories were playing or not. The control groups however were strongly affected. What was surprising was that 100% of the control group took longer to complete the Math puzzles and 100% were distracted by the stories.
 
As community-based mammals we have evolved so that our emotions distract us when we are undertaking routine or logic-based tasks. This is because empathy is such an important part of our social structure.”
 
Advertisers knew that this meant we could wrestle attention from our target market in their day-to-day lives if we pique an emotional response. Emotion in advertising (when done right), is a powerful tool, that can get you noticed.
 
The awareness and ability to tap into the into the inescapable way we have evolved to think and behave is growing in momentum. Intelligent marketing includes the use of neuroscience and behavioural economics. Together they can impact your audience’s ability to remember your creative work, making a real difference to the success of a campaign.

 

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