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Logical Persuasion or Non-rational Influence

Advertisers come at you in two ways.

There is the just-the-facts type of ad, called “logical persuasion,” or LP (“This car gets 42 miles to the gallon”), and then there is the ad that circumvents conscious awareness, called “non-rational influence,” or NI (a pretty woman, say, draped over a car).

Despite research surrounding the notion of neuromaketing, which studies consumers’ cognitive responses to marketing stimuli, the impact on brain function of these types of real-world advertisements was unknown. Now, researchers at UCLA and George Washington University have shown that different types of advertisements evoke different levels of brain activity, depending on whether they use elements of logical persuasion or non-rational influence.

… brain regions involved in decision-making and emotional processing were more active when individuals viewed ads that used logical persuasion than when they viewed ads that used non-rational influence. These brain regions help us inhibit our responses to certain stimuli. … “These results suggest that the lower levels of brain activity from ads employing NI images could lead to less behavioral inhibition, which could translate to less restraint when it comes to buying products depicted in the NI advertisements.”

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