Heather at The Greenest Dollar read How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer earlier this summer, and it made her see Costco in an entirely new way. The point behind all that crazy luxury stuff for sale at Costco isn’t just to sell it, she says; it’s to prime your brain with feel-good dopamine so that you’re far more likely to splurge on the more affordable items deeper in the store.
The New York Times has an interesting series of tests and explanations that show why and how the human brain makes errors in estimating probability—and consequently, why we get suckered even if we think we’re overall pretty smart.
- When people see something they want to purchase, a portion of the brain called the nucleus accumbens “lights up” on a brain scan. If the price is too high, another region of the brain called the insula is activated and the mesial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) is deactivated, Dr. Brian Knutson of Stanford University in California and colleagues report.
If you are wondering if the $2 million dollars advertisers paid per Super Bowl Commercial was money well spent, the New Scientist has an article up about a team of California neuroscientists who scanned the brains of five Super Bowl viewers to discover which parts of their cerebellum fired up during the commercials.