How advertising affects our brains

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How advertising affects our brains

The “trace” from advertising remains in our brain for three months. This was the conclusion of a group of French researchers studying the impact of online advertising on users.

How many hours a day do we spend on the Internet? In general, hardly less than three. What information does the brain receive while we look at the screen of a computer or smartphone? Obviously, he is not only occupied with the content of search queries, reading news, browsing friends, or browsing through photo albums.

As long as the consciousness is fixed on the text, pop-up blinking pictures or banners located above, below or on the sides are imprinted on the retina of the eye and transmitted to the brain, whether we like it or not.

“Make-up, phones, gifts, cars, arrows,“ click here and find out, ”all this enters the brain and does not leave it for several months,” said Didier Courbet, head of a group of researchers studying the effects of advertising on the psyche. Do not forget about pop-ups – small images that are activated automatically. We try not to pay attention to them or are actively trying to remove them from sight.

To assess the impact of such advertising on the human psyche, scientists tested 400 volunteers. They were invited to search for something on the Internet and periodically, at random intervals, sent them advertising banners, imitating what usually happens when we browse the Internet.

Then the participants were asked if they noticed that they were trying to “sell” certain products, and if so, which ones. “No,” the volunteers answered unanimously (and innocently). None of them saw or remembered anything.

Information repository

We don’t notice or remember much, but the brain stores all the information received. This was confirmed when scientists decided to continue the experiment about the effect of advertising on the brain.

We think that we are protected from the effects of advertising, but the brain keeps impressions of what we saw without our knowledge

First, seven days later, and then three months after the first stage, volunteers were provided with goods advertised during the experiment. Users had to identify them as soon as possible and say whether they want to buy them. Almost no time for reflection. This means that they are not seeing these products for the first time – an imprint of their name or image (or both at the same time) remains in their brain.

For three months, there are even more people who want to buy the advertised product than after a week. It follows that accidentally obtained information is stored in the brain for at least several months.

What to do with overload?

So, even if we think that we are protected from the effects of advertising, the brain stores impressions of what we saw without our knowledge. What to do with such an “intractable” partner? Treat him as carefully as possible and with great respect. The information flow, noise and color attacks that constantly fall upon us in a world saturated with information do not pass without a trace. They load the brain, “pollute” the psyche and periodically remind of themselves.

However, researchers from the Didier Courbet group believe that we are able to withstand the negative effects of advertising. First of all, one should not deny this influence: it is important to recognize that advertising, under the pressure of which we unwittingly find ourselves on the Internet, leaves its mark in the brain. Recognizing this, we can learn to dispose of it.

It is worth taking care that the brain remains plastic, not allowing it to remain inactive. Oriental techniques, especially meditation, really help. Keeping the brain in working condition and learning to comprehend, everything that we see on the Web, we are more likely to be able to avoid unwanted manipulations.

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Text: Elena Shevchenko
Photo Source: Getty images

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