Book review: Brainfluence

Roger Dooley collects 100 neuromarketing insights into one volume.


Photo: Anna Lisa Sang

BRAINFLUENCE: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing
Roger Dooley

Depending on whom you ask, neuromarketing—the study of how the brain responds to cognitive and sensory marketing stimuli—is either the inevitable future of the ad industry, or a distraction, just a bunch of jazz hands. Its proponents will tell you that conscious thought accounts for only 5% of our brain functions, and that by hooking people up to MRI machines, you can see that advertising stimulates all sorts of unconscious brain activity. By studying these responses, we can better understand why people respond to ads the way they do.

Dooley has written the blog Neuromarketing since 2005, and he’s not interested here in rehashing the case for his discipline. Instead, this collects 100 insights about selling gleaned from neuromarketing research and practice. Those pertain to face-to-face encounters as well as advertising. Two professors in Italy, for example, studied the effectiveness of requests made in people’s right ears versus their left. (They began their research by cadging cigarettes from fellow night-clubbers.) It turned out there is actually a difference: their studies showed that for reasons of arcane brain wiring, we respond much more favourably to requests made in our right ear than our left.