Friday, March 26

Craving Emotions: Do People Need Negative And Positive Interactions?

Every now and again, someone strikes up a study that is just too interesting to simply bookmark for later. Dr. Imam Saqib of the National Institute of Psychology at Quaid-i-Azam University in Pakistan is starting a Web-based psychology experiment to investigate whether or not human beings have a daily requirement for certain kinds of emotions.

His hypothesis is that human emotions may need to be balanced much in same way the body has a proven requirement for certain nutrients. Or, in other words, is it optimally healthy for a person to experience a certain amount of love, creativity, connection, competition, or even aggression as part of their daily routine.

The study is sponsored by the World Mind Network and is co-moderated by Irina Higgins of the Oxford Foundation for Theoretical Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence and Melissa Mendoza of the University of La Verne. For more information, visit Daily Emotional Balance. (The public may join the discussion.)

What It Might Mean For Marketers

Given that some secular and spiritual practices have found that serenity improves the human condition, it seems unlikely that an emotional balance is required. However, there seems to be ample evidence to support that while the need may not be there, people do learn to crave oxytocin, cortisol, adrenaline, and other chemical releases that occur with emotions.

Where this study could be interesting, if not important, for marketers is that it could dispel the belief that positive advertising always plays better to audiences. On the contrary, it could illustrate how emotionally-driven advertising could appeal to specific demographics, depending on environmental conditions.

For example, lighter and more nostalgic advertising played better during the most recent Super Bowl, but more aggressive and darker advertising was well-received during better economic times (much like musical trends). Such understanding could become a critical component in communication. Cool stuff.

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