Dr. Lucas C. Parra and colleagues at the City College of New York set up an experiment to measure brain waves of people watching scenes from a movie to find out what stimulates them.
Parra tells Reuters: "We can tell whether you're engaged in a scene down to say one second resolution. So we could potentially go to a film maker and tell him, look in this scene the first two seconds you were good but then in the third and fourth second you lost your audience."
Twenty volunteers wore a cap with electrodes attached to an EEG monitor while they watched the Alfred Hitchcock film "Bang! You're dead," a story about the risky circumstances surrounding a young boy who plays with what he think is a toy gun, although viewers know it is real.
The research showed that brain activity increased during scenes showing close ups of the gun and cliffhanger scene changes. The same was not true when researchers showed the movie again out of chronological order.
Researchers believe that measuring human brain waves could be more effective than traditional focus groups in giving advertisers access to what stimulates people. The research can also benefit neuromarketing because scientists will have objective measures to people's reactions rather than a study group where you just ask questions and they will give you responses which may or may not be really what they felt or thought about," Parra tells Reuters.
Photo via flickr/cmcbrown