Posts : 258
Join date : 2014-03-25
|Subject: The 'Price Placebo' effect. Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:21 am|| |
- Quote :
- Advertising makes cars drive faster. Advertising makes shoes more stylish. Advertising makes cleaners clean more brightly. Advertising makes everything better.
Professor Jef I. Richards said, "Advertising is the 'Wonder' in Wonder Bread".
Do you think I am lying? Overstepping the line a little bit? I think not, and I have science on my side to prove it. Advertising doesn't make household items you buy just seem better than they are; it literally makes them work better.
Take for example a modern classic study in consumer psychology titled "Marketing actions can modulate neural representations of experienced pleasantness". The researchers found a bottle of wine marketed at $90.00 was reported as being more 'tasty' than the same bottle of wine marketed at $10.00. OK, so no surprises there - we all kind of know about this general 'price placebo'. However, the findings in this remarkable study don't stop there.
The respondents were actually strapped to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners and other sensory recording equipment. The researchers then found that the medial orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain strongly associated with experiencing pleasure, lit up like a Christmas tree when the subjects tasted the $90.00 bottle. Indicating that people were actually experiencing more pleasure from the wine, not just saying they were.
This is despite, and this is the really interesting bit, the areas of the brain responsible for experiencing taste (the insula cortex, the ventroposterior medial nucleus of the thalamus, or the parabrachial nucleus of the pons) did not light up any differently between the tastes tests of the $10 v $90 bottle. Therefore, even though the taste part of the brain recorded no difference between the bottles, the pleasure part of the brain did. Taste, it would seem is extremely subjective.
When we taste something we are not recording what it tastes like, we are creating the taste - making it up, depending on the information we have to hand.
This experience has been found to relate to packaging and its contribution to taste in numerous studies, across numerous categories. Packaging strongly influences the taste of something as the brain is looking for cues to help create its story of tastiness (or not).