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Emotion + Reason = Decision

Neuroscientists and marketers share an overlapping goal: to understand how decisions, choices, or behaviors are made.

Why do some fairly average products succeed where demonstrably superior products struggle?

Why do some people spend more on one brand, when a virtually identical, cheaper option is two inches away on the shelf?

The answer, as neuroscience has learned, is that a decision is not just based on Reason, but also on Emotion.

Before we can influence how decisions, choices, and behaviors are made it’s important to understand how these happen inside the brain.

Emotional System First, Reason System Second

What drives a decision, choice, or behavior is the result of two brain systems acting together. The neurobiology behind this process has been well researched.

The first of these systems to fire is the Emotional System, which is also referred to by Neuroscientists as the Limbic System and involves subcortical brain regions such as the amygdala and nucleus accumbens. This system is fast, inflexible, hardwired, and the home of our gut feelings, instincts, and unconscious responses. Here, habits and conditioned responses are formed and acted upon, alongside basic unconscious motivations and desires.

Only after the emotion system has engaged does reason come into play. If you do not understand what is happening within the emotion system, there’s a good chance your marketing message will fail to resonate.

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