Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark help companies manipulate the brains of innocent consumers

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“Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark help companies
manipulate the brains of innocent customers”: So I needed a good headline to attract readership.

Tonight, 5th October 2011 , DR (the Danish BBC) will broadcast a program about neuromarketing. According to lunch room rumours the journalists of the program focus on how the advertising businesses consciously manipulate the brain of the innocent irrational consumer so they will buy more. They have already issued an article called “Seduced to buy“.

Among the culprits in this manipulation scheme are neuropsychologist Thomas Ramsøy (who’s blog, Brainethics, I have linked from my blog) and members from our group at the Section for Cognitive Systems and the Technical University of Denmark such as engineer Carsten Stahlhut. You might think judging from the pictures that these two guys look quite innocent, but I tell you I know these guys and Thomas is teaching a course in this “neuromarketing” and Carsten does “inversion” models for brain signals from EEG. Furthermore, in one of Thomas’ blog posts we see an image of Carsten putting EEG electrodes and camera for eye tracking onto a poor innocent consumer.

Humour aside, in the program Thomas is likely to tell how neuromarketing can be used, e.g., with eye tracking and Carsten is brought along to show our “sexy” smartphone EEG “on the go” apparatus. In the program you may see a consumer wearing both an eye tracker as well as the EEG/smartphone system while she is buying things in a store. If you haven’t seen the smartphone EEG it is here:

One of the DR journalists also contacted me regarding some movies of brain activation for the program. I managed to make one with MRIcron. The short movie of a rotating brain with activation from “smelling” is in MPEG-4 and apparently does not show in Windows (In Linux and Apple it works ok). The movie was not sexy enough compared to the smartphone EEG, so I will be surprised if it gets into the program.

The web page for the DR program is here. Live Internet broadcast from DR NU, where you may catch a glimpse of the smartphone EEG, may be available from 21:25 Danish time.


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