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Can Brain Waves Track Marketing Effectiveness?

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The British publication New Scientist recently put its money where its mouth is and conducted an innovative study on marketing effectiveness. The experiment was to test the reader's response to several magazine covers and gauge which were the most eye-catching and memorable. But rather than seat participants in front of dials that measured degrees of "Like" and "Dislike," members of the study were hooked up to electroencephalograph machines which measure brain activity.

Eyelid clamps were presumably optional.

The tests were conducted on 19 right-handed men -- under the assumption that left-handed people and women would have outlying brain activity. (Insert Leno joke here.) After being shown three separate magazine covers, New Scientist selected the image and logo which evoked the largest brain activity. The winning image featured the logo in red above an image of a swirling galaxy unraveling into cotton-like fibers. The caption read, "End of Spacetime: Has the fabric of the universe unravelled?"

The cover was chosen for this week's issue.

Focus testing has gotten a bad rap from those who abhor the watering down of content to target a wider audience. But more people would likely support tests to find media that triggers more brain activity.

Anything to avoid a sequel to Grown Ups.
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