Is Neuromarketing the Future of Politics? A look into an emerging field that shows promise for those who are trying to find out how people think, what they care about, and what makes them vote Open Access
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In today's media environment, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to communicate a message. Because of the growth and influence of digital media, powered by the Internet, along with the decreased influence of traditional media like television and print newspapers, our media is denser, quicker, and less centralized. There are more outlets of information and that information is being received quicker. Individual people, not traditional media outlets, are gaining influence in how news is reported and information is disseminated. With regards to politics, this means that campaigns have to communicate on many more platforms, move faster (sometimes), and realize that their impact will be less than it might have been a few years ago. One issue that arises in this new environment is effectively communicating a message. Because the environment is cluttered and moves quickly, the ability to connect with people is harder than ever. Neuromarketing seeks to alleviate this problem in part by making communication more precise and relevant so it cuts through to make an impact. On its most basic level, this emerging field focuses on how the brain operates and, by consequence, the best way to communicate directly to it. So far, much has been revealed from a macro level about how people respond to various themes, emotions, and values. From a micro level, neuromarketing holds the promise of refining products, people, and messaging to make communication more effective.It also has the potential to transform how political campaigns communicate with voters. Like businesses that have a product to sell, campaigns are selling a candidate. In its current form, neuromarketing reveals themes and best practices that can be gleaned for political professionals. But, beyond these lessons, neuromarketing is currently out of practical reach for most campaigns because the findings and technology are not advanced enough to provide affordable and actionable information to improve communication. Other barriers exist in politics like openness to new ideas and potential backlash that hinder its adaptation. Even though neuromarketing is far from having a meaningful impact on politics now, the progress that is being made is a strong indication of its future impact.