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Neuromarketing and Ethics

Neuromarketing has been under media and scientific attack for ethical reasons for more than a decade. The hostility towards discipline has been based on the idea that neuromarketing is harmful to the person and science. 

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Neuromarketing has been under media and scientific attack for ethical reasons for more than a decade. The hostility towards discipline has been based on the idea that neuromarketing is harmful to the person and science.

1. Neuromarketing invades privacy

It is argued that the neuroscience of the consumer extracts emotional information about the subject without it being conscious. The participant in the study can not protect their privacy, because the reactions captured are beyond their control.

2. Neuromarketing facilitates manipulation

Marketing is the art of influencing perception and opinion. Knowing how people’s non-conscious reactions work allows them to influence them at a very deep level without them noticing.

3. Neuromarketing is not rigorous or brings great news

Many scientists point out that the results of some studies are exaggerated or of dubious validity. It tends to simplify the reactions of the brain and make claims without much caution.

The cause of this perception is partly due to sensationalist treatment of the discipline by the media. Perspective fed by some specialized companies that, by exaggerating the virtues of neuromarketing, have ended up undermining the reputation of the discipline.

However, with some knowledge of the discipline, you can respond to these attacks.

1. Neuromarketing does not invade privacy

In the studies the participants sign informed consents that indicate what information will be collected. They may not be aware of the nature of their emotions, but they are aware of the situation they face. It is a consented access, not an invasion or aggression. In addition, the information obtained explains what the subject feels, not why, a key factor when it comes to posing a threat to privacy.

2. Neuromarketing seeks to understand the client

Neuromarketing examines the emotional side of the consumer with their consent. With this, you seek to know your target group in more detail to better communicate and create products and services that meet your needs. It is a win-win situation.

3. Good neuromarketing provides useful and unique information and is increasingly rigorous

It is true that there have been pirates who have exaggerated the power of discipline. There is still much to investigate about the brain and psychophysiological responses. However, there is no doubt that the discipline has a privileged access to the world of emotions. Thanks to the technological improvements in measurement techniques, the number of situations studied increases as well as the quality of the information. In addition, aware of the importance of rigor, there is a notorious effort on the part of serious companies not to sell smoke.

That neuromarketing is ethical depends on its use, the purpose and way of proceeding in the studies, not the discipline itself.

To say that the neuroscience of the consumer is harmful is the same as saying that iron is harmful. One can use this metal to coat bombs that fall on cities or hospital columns that save lives. The same goes for the studies: one can investigate by endangering the life of the subjects or inform and ensure their safety. Run a UX study on how to design a more addictive slot machine or a more effective informational website.

Ethical neuromarketing exists and must be encouraged and highlighted. Fortunately, there are already associations like the NMSBA that work for the cause. This work must be supported by the companies of the sector, which must flee from the show and strive to show rigor and clarity in the communication of their studies.

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