Putting on the Brakes: The Feeling of Fear

Feb 27 2017 Published by neilgains under emotion

If you read the newspapers or switch on the nightly news, you might conclude that there is a lot to be afraid of over the coming year, in keeping with 2016. Fear is primal and one of the most fundamental of human emotions. Charles Darwin believed that the emotion of fear went back to the origins of all species, writing, “we may confidently believe … Fear was expressed from an extremely remote period in almost the same manner as it is now by man”. Read more »

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The Arrival of Emojis

Jan 18 2017 Published by neilgains under emotion

In Arrival, Louise Banks (played by Amy Adams) asks to meet and interact face-to-face with the aliens who have landed on Planet Earth and has to use visual communication to more quickly and effectively learn their language. Similarly, studies of human communication have shown that non-verbal signals account for a significant proportion of that communication making it more effective and memorable. Read more »

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Which Tribe do you belong to?

Dec 27 2016 Published by neilgains under book review

Although Tribe is mostly written about war veterans and the process of coming home from war, it holds some profound lessons for all of us and how we cope with the modern world. The central argument is that recovery is strongly associated with a feeling of belonging to a group, something that war gives soldiers and then takes away from many of them when they return. Read more »

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Joy to the World: The feeling of happiness

Dec 26 2016 Published by neilgains under emotion

If there is an emotion that is most strongly associated with the Christmas and New Year holidays it must surely be Joy. In the text as well as performances of the Christmas carol ‘Joy to the world’, Joy is associated with singing and a very physical and spontaneous sense of well-being. [The carol was written by Isaac Watts, a pastor with a father who was jailed for his non-conformist views, in 1719 and with a famous musical setting written by George Frederick Handel.]

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Marketing to Consumers’ Instincts

Dec 14 2016 Published by neilgains under book review

There are now many books about the application of behavioural science to branding and marketing (including Brand esSense). The Business Of Choice by Matthew Willcox is a recent edition is one of the more readable ones, summarising many of the core ideas of behavioural economics in a very business-focused and reader-friendly way. Uniquely, the coverage extends to thinking about the role of human nature and culture in shaping consumers’ decision-making.

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A journey of nine emotions

Nov 17 2016 Published by neilgains under emotion

In Emotional Rollercoaster, Claudia Hammond goes on a journey through the science of emotions, exploring nine different emotions on the way. Although harder going and less enjoyable than another book I have recently read and reviewed, this is still full of insights into the science behind emotions as well as anecdotes that illuminate how each emotion fits into our understanding of human behaviour. Let’s take a quick tour of each of the nine. Read more »

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Trumping Certainty and Reason: What can market research learn from the US election?

Nov 11 2016 Published by neilgains under market research

The final result is in and already the vultures are circling over the record of the pollsters in the US election. Is this another nail in the coffin of opinion polls, another Brexit moment or something more profound? I believe there are three important lessons for market researchers and one more profound lesson for everyone.

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How many emotions can you think of?

Sep 25 2016 Published by neilgains under emotion

In some ways The Book of Human Emotions is a remarkable book, managing to cover 154 different emotions into a very readable and entertaining 270 pages. Through short, witty and illuminating essays on each emotion, the author reveals some of the many stories behind each emotion, and although light on science this is a book that is rich in insights into the human condition. Read more »

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Beauty – Science or Art?

Sep 22 2016 Published by neilgains under book review

“When I was a little girl no one ever told me I was pretty. All little girls should be told they are pretty, even if they are not.”

Marilyn Monroe

“Natural beauty takes at least two hours in front of a mirror.”

Pamela Anderson

Asked why people desire physical beauty, Aristotle said, “No one that is not blind could ask that question”. Is there more to what we find beautiful than just our individual preferences and prejudices? In Survival of the Prettiest, Nancy Etcoff reviews the evidence that beauty is more science than art. In particular, she discusses the role of evolution and natural selection versus culture in shaping what makes someone beautiful.

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What Market Research can Learn from Brexit

Jul 08 2016 Published by neilgains under emotion

The result of the recent referendum in the UK on membership of the European Union (EU) was a big shock for most people, including opinion poll companies. Unfortunately, they had been providing remarkably similar forecasts for the last several months as the poll became closer, sometimes up and sometimes down but almost all with the same prediction. Those that tried even failed to get it right on polling day itself. In this regard, they repeated their poor performance of the UK general election just over one year ago. Read more »

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