Thursday 10 November 2011


It is now possible to scan someone’s brain and get a reasonable idea of what is going through his mind.
The Economist reports on three recent and fascinating studies that point a way to obtaining a better idea of what consumers (and buyers) really think.
One paper describes an attempt to study dreaming. A second can reconstruct a moving image of what an observer is looking at. And a third can tell what someone is thinking about.
A: Munich dreaming
Recruiting a group of lucid dreamers, where the person doing the dreaming is aware that he is dreaming, and can control his actions almost as if he were awake. This will perhaps solve one of the great mysteries of biology: what, exactly, is dreaming for?
B: Mind-reconstruction
The second study shows that it is now possible to make a surprisingly accurate reconstruction, in full motion and glorious Technicolor, of exactly what is passing through an awake person’s mind. As the pictures above show, the result was often a recognisable simulacrum of the original.
C: Mind Reading
The third study was similar to mind –reconstruction above, but rather than recreating images, the analysts were able to determine what topics people were pondering. In other words they could work out what type of object something was i.e. they could not distinguish a carrot from a stick of celery, but could say that it was a vegetable.
As the stakes increase in persuading consumers and buyers it will become increasingly important to get closer to real need assessment.
Early days, but these studies will show us how… 

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