Thursday, February 08, 2007

Super Bowl Ads Spark Anxiety

For better or worse, neuroscientists like to wire people's brains and scan them while they watch commercials. So how did this year's crop of Super Bowl ads do? Terrible.

According to a study by UCLA scientists,
reports TIME, just 20 percent of the multi-million dollar ads stimulated the reward and satisfaction part of the brain, known as the ventral striatum. This is the part of the brain "known to be involved in making associations and forming connections with people or things," according to the TIME write up.

Last year, half of the ads triggered activity in the ventral striatum.

This year, where ad time was sold in 30-second blocks for 2.6 million dollars, most ads stimulated the amygdale, a part of the brain associated with anxiety. "To me, that means these ads are going to be unsuccessful," one researcher told TIME.

One ad that triggered a particularly strong response in the reward center was
Coke's "videogame" ad. On the flipside, Emerald Nuts "Boogeyman" spot left the ventrial stratum dark during cerebral scans.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.