Brain Cells In Fear And Rage Sector Change When You Shop

Single brain cells become altered in unison when you’re shopping, a new study finds.

Researchers took volunteers who already had electrodes in their heads – they were undergoing a procedure to try to figure out exactly where their seizures were coming from – which let the scientists track the behavior of individual neurons in the amygdala.

They then showed patients pictures of fifty different kinds of junk food for one-second each, and asked to bid between $0 and $3 for each item.

Discovery News:

Of the 51 neurons that the researchers tracked in the three volunteers, 16 performed in lockstep with the value of the food item, changing their activity in a predictable way as the value increased. As the value (and corresponding bid) went up, some of these neurons’ activity went up too. Others showed an inverse relationship, with their activity declining as the value increased.

So it looks like, in a way, your brain is wired to shop.

Also interesting is that the amygdala the part of the brain usually associated with fear and rage, which are pretty much the two main emotions advertisers try to trigger in consumers.

HOW THE BRAIN SHOPS [DiscoveryNews] (Thanks to c-side!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. dolemite says:

    When I shop at Walmart, my rage neurons fire at 110%.

    • swarrior216 says:

      Same here. I only go there if I absolutely have too.

    • Portlandia says:

      People that shop at walmart have functioning neurons? News to me!

      Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Me too. I’m just about done with them. Saturday I went in there and left without half of the items on my list. They had done away with them. If they would only build a Target on my side of town…

  2. Red Cat Linux says:

    eBay has this effect on me. Rage, annoyance, and frustration. I only shop there once a year now :P

  3. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Fear and Rage:
    Why I hate to shop.

  4. Bill610 says:

    “Single brain cells become altered in unison”? How can one thing “become altered” in unison? Does this make mathematical or grammatical sense? Or, alternately, is it possible for one thing to be altered NOT in unison?

    Isn’t that like a single violin playing in unison, or one heart beating in unison?

    I’m confused…or somebody is, at any rate.

  5. SG-Cleve says:

    My wife goes brain dead when shopping. You should see what she comes home with…

  6. Alfred says:

    So how does this prove that we are wired to shop and that advertisers try to trigger rage
    and fear??

  7. Vivienne says:

    I would like to officially nominate this for the 2011 “Most Poorly Written Consumerist Post” Award. It is out early in the game, but I believe it to be a strong contender.

    • SissyOPinion says:

      Oh, thank god I’m not the only one! I thought my brain had stopped working because I was missing the steps leading to the conclusions stated.

  8. rahntwo says:

    Hmmm, Why does some of your link sound like Nigerian grammar? For that matter, so does your post.

  9. Josuah says:

    The analysis presented here doesn’t match up at all with what I got out of the actual article text.

    My understanding is that the neurons in the amygdala should also be associated with how individuals assign value to things. It has nothing to do with associating fear or rage with a person’s value of items.

    A group of 16 neurons tended towards increased activity together when evaluating an item, while a different group of neurons tended towards decreased activity. Different people valued different items to different degrees.

    An application of this might be that if someone said they did not value something, you could verify this by examining the activity of the neurons you already know that individual’s brain associated with high value things.

  10. DH405 says:

    Flagging doesn’t seem to work. The Captcha keeps saying I entered the wrong characters. This is obvious spam, please remove it.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      you have to keep trying. It finally accepts the captcha after 8 or 9 tries. I did (finally) successfully report this.

  11. Kingeryck says:

    I certainly feel rage when I go shopping with my fiancee.

  12. gman863 says:

    If they had shown a picture of the long checkout lines at the Kroger near my house it would have broken the test equipment.

  13. mobiuschic42 says:

    Hmm…if the story as presented here is really what was published, there’s a big problem with the generalization: The study was only done on people who have had seizures in the past. Therefore, there’s no way to know whether this would happen in the general non-seizure-pron population.