Reflecting on Mirror Neurons

4 Jul


Here’s a cool picture taken at Luray Caverns in Luray, VA. It appears to be an identical set of stalagmites (trying with all their might to get to the ceiling) and stalactites (hanging on tight from above). In reality, it’s a set of stalactites and their reflection in a perfectly still pool of water.

The reflection reminded me of a marketing insight I recently picked up from branding guru, Martin Lindstrom.

In his book Buyology, Lindstrom explains the concept of mirror neurons in the brain and how they may influence our behavior. In short, the theory is that mirror neurons fire in your brain when you yawn simply because you’ve seen another person yawn: even though you’re not the least bit tired. Or, when you watch an exciting car chase in a movie and you end up driving like a mad man on your way home — I confess I’ve mirrored this behavior and luckily have lived to tell about it.

So, if you’re trying to influence behavior, show someone in your target audience consuming your product and you just might fire the mirror neurons in their brain to do the same thing. This seems like an obvious move, but for some reason we marketers sometimes go with the more obtuse choices for visuals.

The mirror neurons theory has its doubters but I think there’s truth to it — they did outlaw showing people smoking and drinking alcohol in TV commercials for a reason.

Follow me on Twitter @kdoreilly for more marketing chatter


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