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NEUROMARKETINGUnderstanding the "Buy Button" in Your Customer's Brain
By Patrick Renvoisé Christophe Morin
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Patrick Renvoisé
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHREE BRAINS, ONE DECISION-MAKER
Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think. ~Ambrose Bierce, Author
Having the best technology or the highest quality solution does not guarantee that prospects will always buy from you. But exciting new findings in brain research suggest that speaking to the true decisionmaker, the old brain, will raise your effectiveness in communicating an idea or selling a product.
You probably already know the distinction often made between the left brain and the right brain. The left hemisphere is the center of linear thinking such as language, logic, and mathematics. The right hemisphere is the center of conceptual thoughts such as art, music, creativity, and inspiration.
The brain can also be categorized into three distinct parts that act as separate organs with different cellular structures and different functions. Although these three parts of the brain communicate with each other and constantly try to influence each other, each one has a specialized function:
The new brain thinks. It processes rational data. The middle brain feels. It processes emotions and gut feelings. The old brain decides. It takes into account the input from the other two brains, but the old brain is the actual trigger of decision.
The old brain is a primitive organ, a direct result of the basic evolutionary process. It is our "fight or flight" brain-our survival brain-and is also called the reptilian brain because it is still present in reptiles today. In fact, any animal with vertebrae has a spine within its vertebrae, and the top end of that spine is indeed the old brain. Some people call the old brain the "first brain," as it appeared first-before we grew a middle brain and a new brain. Furthermore, while our brains grow in utero, the old brain is the first part of the brain to develop. Recent MRI studies on human development from birth to adulthood reveal that the new brain is not even finished until age twenty-four!
The old brain is well named, as it dates back to about 450 million years ago. According to leading neuroscientist Robert Ornstein in The Evolution of Consciousness, our old brain is concerned solely with our survival, as it has been for millions of years.
The body of research that demonstrates the prevalence of the old brain in the decision-making process is overwhelming. In the book How the Brain Works, human brain scientist Leslie Hart states, "Much evidence now indicates that the old brain is the main switch in determining what sensory input will go to the new brain, and what decisions will be accepted."
Antonio Damasio, a behavioral neurologist professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, and head of USC's Brain and Creativity Institute, states in his book, Descartes' Error, "Emotion, feeling, and biological regulation all play a role in human reason. The lowly orders of our organism are in the loop of higher reason." In other words, survival-related functions play a role in the decision-making process.
Michael Tomasello, a cognitive scientist and co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, writes, "The 6 million years that separate human beings from other great apes is a very short time evolutionarily, with modern humans and chimpanzees sharing 99 percent of their genetic material.... There simply has not been enough time for normal processes of biological evolution involving genetic variation and natural selection to have created one by one each of the cognitive skills necessary for modern humans to invent and maintain complex tool-use industries and technologies, complex forms of symbolic communication."
Other works that highlight the role and importance of the old brain include You've Got to Be Believed to Be Heard, by Bert Decker, who develops the concept of achieving trust via the old brain in order to generate understanding, and Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, who also reviews the working principals of the old brain. In Emotional Brain, Dr. Joseph LeDoux points out that the amygdala-located in the old brain-"has a greater influence on the cortex than the cortex has on the amygdala, allowing emotional arousal to dominate and control thinking."
With all this scientific evidence, the challenge in sales and marketing becomes: how do you address a brain that is 450 million years old? Sales people, politicians, educators, and even parents can testify how hard it is to convince people by simply using words. Words have been around for "only" about 40,000 years. Before that, man's communication was limited to a few grunts or gestures. It is even more difficult to try to influence your audience using written language. Why? Written words have only been around for about 10,000 years. That means the old brain is 45,000 times older than written words! There has not been enough time, in evolutionary terms, for written words to make an impact on our old brain.
So is it even possible to convince such a primitive organ using text?
To motivate and inspire our old brain, we must first learn to speak an entirely new language. This book is the only book to combine the latest brain research with cutting edge sales, marketing, and communication techniques.
What to Remember
Researchers have demonstrated that human beings make decisions in an emotional manner and then justify them rationally. Furthermore, we now know that the final decision is actually triggered by the old brain, a brain that doesn't even understand words.
Excerpted from NEUROMARKETING by Patrick Renvoisé Christophe Morin Copyright © 2007 by Patrick Renvoisé. Excerpted by permission.
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