quote:On the first floor of an unassuming terrace above a row of shops in Hawthorn, eight men and women are gathered. They have been recruited at random by an agency and are being paid about $65 each for the evening to wear plastic headsets that look a little like shower caps, and virtual reality-style visors over their eyes.
There are felt-tip sensors inside the bathing caps to measure the electrical activity in each person's brain. The lights go down, a screen comes up, and a show comes on. But the real show is inside these people's minds: advertisers and television networks want to know what makes this audience pay attention, what engages them and how much their memory will encode for the longer term.
Perhaps even more importantly, they also want to know the audience's emotional response: activity in a complex network of cortical and sub-cortical regions - particularly in the right side of the brain, often ascribed as the creative and emotional side compared to the rational, systemising left side - indicate both emotional intensity (how emotionally energised someone becomes) and emotional valence (the motivational state created by the emotion).
Welcome to the age of neuromarketing.