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Coffee!! Neuroscience: Your local marketing research pest is getting into the action …

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Here’s a type of study I would like to see less of:

From Nature Precedings: Prepublication research and Preliminary Findings, here’s part of the abstract:

Received 30 January 2009 08:57 UTC; Posted 09 February 2009

Subjects: Neuroscience

Tags: neuroimaging Methods Marketing research Neuromarketing

We now stand at a juncture where cognitive function can be mapped in the time, space and frequency domains, as and when such activity occurs. These advanced techniques have led to discoveries in many fields of research and clinical science, including psychology and psychiatry. Unfortunately, neuroscientific techniques have yet to be enthusiastically adopted by the social sciences. Market researchers, as specialized social scientists, have an unparalleled opportunity to adopt cognitive neuroscientific techniques and significantly redefine the field and possibly even cause substantial dislocations in business models. Following from this is a significant opportunity for more commercially-oriented researchers to employ such techniques in their own offerings. This report examines the feasibility of these techniques.

I hope this goes nowhere. Market research is a big enough social pest already.

Market research is tolerable if we understand that it is part of a sales strategy (those people gotta make a living). But pretending it is some kind of science is a fringe too far, I am afraid.

I believe that neuroscience should stay anchored closely to medicine. Urgent issues confront medical professionals – how to help children with development or behaviour disorders, adults with mental problems, seniors with reduced mental abilities, recovering victims of accidents and disease. What works and what doesn’t are worthy challenges. Figuring out what happens when someone decides to buy red hot scarlet pants as opposed to mean green ones is trivial – and may not really be knowable, precisely because it is so trivial.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

Also at The Mindful Hack:

Consciousness – best understood as like dancing, not digesting?

Psychology: Intelligence does not lead to better judgement, decision-making

Religion on the decline? Maybe, but then again maybe not

The latest on God neurons: There ARE no God neurons

Mind: Yet another effort to explain to materialists why minds are not like computers

The Mindful Hack is my blog on neuroscience and spirituality issues, which supports The Spiritual Brain.

mikev6, If it is logical, ID will accept it. That is my experience. I believe the logical conclusion now is that it is a mystery. That is not punting but an assessment of what is known. Here are a couple of comments I made yesterday on another thread about this topic. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/a-word-about-our-moderation-policy/#comment-308405 and further down the list of comments https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/a-word-about-our-moderation-policy/#comment-308480 Essentially I said that there is no data to support any mechanism for macro evolution. ID also says that there may be an impediment for the current paradigms due to the inability of elements to recombine or changes to gametes take place. But at the moment the knowledge is too limited to make any hard conclusions. So in a way I am pushing option a. jerry
jerry, Well, misunderstanding the debate is always a possibility; however, there's nothing in your response that I didn't understand, so I'll take that as a good sign. :-) Let me take your framing of the problem and re-state my question. Evolutionary biologists, while they use the terms micro and macro-evolution, apparently don't see a fundamental break or barrier between the two. So their list of "accomplishments" works for both. ID sees two separate processes, A and B. A (micro) is held in common. ID claims a superior model for B (macro), and that evolutionary biology has produced no accomplishments in that area because their model is flawed. However, ID-based research has not (as far as I know) produced any accomplishments in area B either. (Remember, I'm being pragmatic here - an "accomplishment" is a new drug, etc). So, where does ID go from here? Is it a case of: a) the field is too new, and there hasn't been enough time. If so, OK, is there preliminary work going on? or b) The ID model for B has other flaws, and is unable to produce further results either. or c) B can never produce results of this type due to the nature of macro-evolution, or d) nobody knows/other. Obviously, if I were a dedicated ID person, I'd be pushing option a) for something unique, like a drug that depends on something being irreducibly complex. That's obviously a gross simplification, but bottom line - is the better model producing better results? mikev6
mikev6, You do not understand the debate. There are really two theories of evolution and ID has no problem with one of them which is micro evolution. So to trot out their accomplishments is meaningless. On the second theory of evolution, macroevolution, their are no accomplishments and actually ID theory is superior to the current version of macro evolution espoused by the scientists because it gets at the reasons why there are no accomplishments. We sometimes refer to these theories as the special and general theory of evolution, a set of terms coined by Michael Denton. Every time you read about what evolutionary biology has accomplished it is the special theory or micro evolution. But all the debate is over macro evolution. ID has the upper hand on the science on macro evolution because it is information based and stresses the difficulty in creating new information. While evolutionary biology is reduced to claims that it just happened. Yes, it did happen but modern evolutionary biology has no coherent theory as to how it happened that has been empirically validated. jerry
I'm not really too concerned about protecting market research - it can pretty much protect itself as a field of effort. However, in #2, jerry wrote:
Should be rewritten “My question - when do you think evolutionary biology will reach a level where it can produce similarly concrete results? When will it produce enough positive results that a business would find value in hiring an expert in the field, or what steps has it made in that direction?”
The logic in suggesting this is not clear. Are you saying that evolutionary biology has produced nothing of value, so it's OK if ID produces nothing? Or that the two are so intertwined that ID will always only match evolutionary biology in effectiveness? Evolutionary biology will trot out a laundry list of benefits. Given the claim on this site that
Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted.
Has ID started a similar list of concrete benefits unique to ID that avoids this corruption and produces superior results? mikev6
Hey Ms O'Leary, I read you're article "Religion on the decline? Maybe, but then again maybe not", and found it interesting that certain people said they were not religious, yet they considered themselves "followers of Christ." I found it interesting, because that is basically how I view myself. I may have said I was religious (if I had taken the survey/poll), simply for the sake of a better understanding that others would know I consider myself a Christian or, at least, believe in the divinity of Jesus. But I most often associate "religious" with legalism and "saved-by-works" sort of thinking, so I almost always disassociate myself with the term. I wish to follow Jesus as best I can, but do not wish to refer to myself as having a "religion". I also like to avoid the term "religious" and sometimes even "Christian," simply because both terms, I'm afraid, tend to have negative connotations (although, of course, not always). People tend to stereotype religious people and Christians. Unfortunately a lot of bad memories are associated with both terms. If I can avoid preconceived ideas on what a "religious" or a "Christian" is, hopefully I can be a witness of the real Jesus. :) Domoman
Hey guys, it WAS posted under Eyes Rolling, ... I don't say all market research is useless; in fact, I took part in focus groups for years, when I was younger. (On the other hand, the person who phones me in my office at 6:30 pm, swearing that it is only going to take ten minutes to answer all her structured questions about soda pop does feel like a pest to me ... ) I suspect that market research improves the bottom line IF the right questions are asked. For example, a homeowner insurance company may have a prepared series of questions about prompt, friendly, knowledgeable service in time of trouble ... But the homeowners' main concern might be keeping premiums down by detecting false claimants and fighting huge damage awards. That's an awkward discussion to have, of course, but ... the challenge of market research would then be to find a way to discuss the concern in a civil way without seeming to do so. Or maybe, in light of recent title frauds on fully owned homes, the real growth market is in adding title insurance as an extra feature. But if no one even considers the possibility of that consumer demand and structures questions that address it, the opportunity will not be discovered. All arts require some science, and all sciences require some art, I suppose. O'Leary
"My question - when do you think ID will reach a level where it can produce similarly concrete results? When will it produce enough positive results that a business would find value in hiring an expert in the field, or what steps has it made in that direction?" Should be rewritten "My question - when do you think evolutionary biology will reach a level where it can produce similarly concrete results? When will it produce enough positive results that a business would find value in hiring an expert in the field, or what steps has it made in that direction?" I put in evolution into career builder and got 236 jobs and intelligent design and got 318 jobs. Of course none of the jobs really wanted evolution except for a few that wanted micro evolution but ID agrees with this so would be just as qualified. And the intelligent design was playing off the words design and intelligent. Denyse, I was actually getting a PhD in consumer behavior at one time and was ABD and my thesis if it ever got executed for the PhD was to be about ways to find out how people really think when they see a product or an advertisement. Most marketing research is survey oriented and the questions often fail to get at people's true feelings of beliefs. Over the years various techniques have been developed which try to disarm the person as to what is wanted. My thesis was an attempt to do this with people's reactions to ads and new product concepts. You run into some funny responses some times. We were doing focus groups one time for Hunt Wesson on cooking oil and the preparation of fried chicken. One of the woman in the focus group said she was completely unaffected by advertising because she only bought well known brands. If you think I am picking on woman, you should see what the guys said in the Panasonic research. One said he bought Panasonic because he always bought American. The Japanese product manager sitting next to me laughed. jerry
Interesting post; you are my favorite ID writer here at Uncommon Descent. I think you are correct in regard to people afflicted with ailments of the mind. They certianly need our love and support. We should not turn our backs on them. Christ didn't. SaintMartinoftheFields
As someone involved in marketing, I'm the first to say that market research is more of an art than a science. However, successful practitioners of the "art" use solid scientific techniques (like appropriate statistical tools and mathematical models). Market research is also strongly based on evidence and using evidence in process and business improvement; in fact, the only real criteria for success is the impact on the bottom line. As a result, market research's main claim for validity is that it works . It produces results in the real world. Just for fun, I type in "market research" into Careerbuilder and get 6,862 jobs in the US - these are posted mostly in the last 30 days even as the economy is melting down. My question - when do you think ID will reach a level where it can produce similarly concrete results? When will it produce enough positive results that a business would find value in hiring an expert in the field, or what steps has it made in that direction? mikev6

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