Advertising agencies, politicians and social networks rely on emotions as a means of manipulation. They use our feelings to try to influence our decisions.
Can we be manipulated without even noticing it? Can our attention and thoughts be directed from outside? Increasingly, it appears that there are mechanisms for playing on emotions to sway our minds – right at the point of decision-making. In fact, this technique has now become a subgenre of psychology.
Some of these recent findings are also being applied in what’s known as “neuromarketing”. Test customers make their purchases while their brain waves are measured and recorded. The method provides information about buying behavior and suggests possibilities for boosting purchases through advertising and presentation.
Indeed, the technical possibilities for manipulation are constantly growing. Neuroscientific methods present many new possibilities, as well as new dangers. Indeed, even more extreme work is being done when it comes to the marketing of films and commercials. Here, market researchers are working with neurologists to test the effectiveness of a commercial in real time.
Political actors have also begun to influence public opinion in this way. China is a pioneer of these sometimes questionable methods. There, social control has long been part of the state mandate.