The reason we want the latest gadgets

Did you know that according to a neuroimaging research Apple products have the capacity to activate the same parts of the brain in its fans as religious images trigger in a religious person?. Well, that is no surprise since last september Apple announced it had sold more than 13 million new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models, a new record, just three days after launch. Every time a new iPhone model is released, we see scenes from around the world of hysteria and insane competition for being in the privileged first group of people to possess this gadget.

According to a research by Dr. Sundeep Teki, a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroscience based at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris and the University of Oxford where he investigates learning and memory for natural sounds like in speech and music, the real reason why certain individuals show this behavior when exposed to these stimuli is tightly related to the human brain and not so much to the magic of Apple products. Initially we might assume that it is the magical effect that Apple products entail because of their superb product design, exquisite attention to detail or something more difficult to describe. Maybe we are wrong and it is actually something else. The human mind is biologically set to seek fulfillment of several basic needs such as: shelter, security, affection, status, etc. Basically, as Martin Lindstrom affirms in his book Small Data, the main reason why humans do everything we do is desire. It is what motivates us to make every decision either explicit or autonomous, in our life.

The moment we obtain what we desire,  a mechanism in the striatum, the reward network of the brain, is activated, which as a result produces a chemical called dopamine, with a neurotransmission role in the brain,  that leads to demeanors of several types depending on which of the brain’s pathways it is operating in. Dopamine actually has a lot of functions in the brain, from movement to control of attention, but at the same time it might be involved in addiction of any nature as well. That could be the reason of a shopper’s compulsive behavior, which is only satisfied when the reward is obtained with the associated increase in the level of dopamine in the brain.

But not everything with dopamine is related to pleasure but also with an attempt to obtain that pleasure, which can involve certain feelings of stress, such as the case when gamblers play lottery or casino games and experiment excitement when they are close to win and that feeling lead them to keep trying. These feelings are not pleasurable at all but more related to distress for those individuals, but due to the release of dopamine in the brain, they feel some pleasure in a certain way, because when they undergo this experience the feeling of mastery of the game is high when in reality it is confused for acquired skill. But dopamine is not only related to the search of pleasant or exciting experiences but also to the rejection of certain experiences, such is the case of war veterans that cannot stand gun sounds or any sort of reference that reminds them of armed struggle.

Modern society nowadays has to our disposal all the necessary to satisfy not only our basic needs (biological, safety needs) but also our higher level needs (love, esteem, self-actualization needs) through a variety of products and services which we can access more easily through the Internet, and by mixing two disciplines such as neuroscience and marketing, we have developed a new discipline called neuromarketing which makes smart use of psychology, biology and neuroscience to identify patterns in human behavior and to undestand consumers needs so that they can properly satisfy them even before the consumers are conscious of their desire. Marketing has always tried to understand what consumers want to try to satisfy their needs, but it is even better -through neuromarketing- that someone tries to satisfy our needs before we even know what we want, isn’t it? .


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