How Neuromarketing Is Used in Politics?
In a 2012 political campaign in Mexico, something unusual occurred. A digital billboard appeared in an office building to promote a candidate. Everyone saw it as they entered the building. What those people didn’t know was that a video camera was watching them. Facial analysis software then analyzed facial expressions to determine their emotional reactions.
Based on that analysis, the billboard was altered until it had the emotional impact the campaigners wanted. By evoking positive reactions, the final design could influence viewers votes. That testing led to more effective billboards that were used widely elsewhere. That’s political neuromarketing in action.
- Why Is Brain Research So Important in Politics? – Every political campaign is looking for an edge that attracts more votes. Neuromarketing is playing a hidden role in today’s campaign messages. Outside of the United States, neuroscience-based techniques have been used in political campaigns for some time. They may have played a strong role in the 2012 election of Mexico’s President, Enrique Nieto. The techniques have become common in South America and Europe. Now, we’re seeing neuromarketing being used in election campaigns in the USA. Especially in close elections, small advantages can make all the difference.Most politicians won’t admit to using these tactics, but it’s easy for trained experts to spot its use. For voters, however, those techniques often go unnoticed.
- Why Are Negative Campaign Strategies So Powerful? – American voters are used to seeing negative campaign ads. They present the targeted candidate in a negative way, showing anger, disgust or embarrassment. Ads use harsh colors and fonts, and emotionally-laden language for effect. Images are edited to make them even more negative. Applied neuroscience research can make such negative responses more effective and provide even more impact.
- Negative Campaign Ads Evoke Fear – Fear is the strongest emotional reaction in the brain. Our fast-thinking brain reacts unconsciously to fear. In negative political ads, the goal is to link that fear with a candidate or issue. Often, such ads present the threat of a loss of life, money, safety, security or pride. Our instinct to avoid losses can sway our votes.There is abundance of fear-provoking negative political ads during every election season. Especially effective just before election day, such attack ads often appear more often late in campaigns. Campaign laws offer few ways to keep these emotionally-charged neuropolitical ads from being used.
- Can Neuromarketing Campaign Techniques Be Used Positively? – Some political candidates refuse to use negative advertising. Instead, they apply neuroscience-based techniques to enhance a positive emotional impact. Through carefully selected language and images that depict the candidate as an honest, likable individual, they evoke an emotional response that boosts confidence and respect. Colors and fonts that indicate patriotism, integrity and honesty can help convince voters to mark their ballots for these candidates.Additionally, surveys and market research are used to identify hot-button issues. The most prominent of these are stressed with emotional language in speeches, ads, and candidate websites to reinforce voter loyalty.
The Increasing Use of Neuromarketing in Politics
Politics in the United States is becoming more and more polarized. Elections are often decided on margins of 1-2% of the vote. What that means is that candidates, organizations and political parties are looking everywhere for an edge. Neuromarketing is just one of the tools being used. Voters should be alert and watch for manipulative tactics.