When it comes to the question whether humans should have autonomy of their brain, the answer is obvious – at least, hopefully. However, a philosophical question follows when discussing the inner-workings of the mind: do humans have freewill? It’s not a question regarding ontology or an omniscient ventriloquist, but a scientifically objective inquiry that has to do more with chemistry than a high-overlord. A new scientific field known as Neuromarketing is on the rise, and the scientists within the field are finding ways to provoke and manipulate human behavior through researching the pathways of the human brain when exposed to advertisements and settings that are themed to a business’s brand.
In Buy-ology: Truths and Lies About Why We Buy, Martin Lindstrom condenses his three year study of what makes consumers feel a primal need to purchase products that are not necessarily needed for survival. Conducting the study with over 2,000 volunteers, Lindstrom sets to discover if common forms of advertising such as selling sex or creating rituals with brands actually sparks the consuming impulses of the everyday person. The results of Lindstrom’s findings will be shattering for most, but nevertheless, his findings are inescapable. After reading through Buy-ology, readers may be left with a sour question: Are humans just an advanced form of chemical reactions that can be manipulated and toyed with like any other element?
Readers may also not be left with that question either, since it is not Lindstrom’s goal to persuade readers into one way of thinking or another. Lindstrom sets to show the readers the process of his experiments from developing a hypothesis to collecting the information. At the beginning of Buy-ology, readers will soon find that Lindstrom’s original hypothesis on how advertising affects the human mind will end up as completely opposite of what is true. What follows is a journey into discovering the tick that makes consumers want to buy popular objects such as the new Fallout game or feel the urge drive to the local 711 to purchase another Big Gulp. Possibly, for the most addicted consumer, reading Buy-ology can be a source of self-therapy, a way of awakening themselves to the magnetic forces of popular brands.
Reading wise, the concepts and writing in Buy-ology are condensed enough that even the common middle school student can follow along cosily. There may be instances of vernacular that comes from the Neuroscience field and may be nuanced to the common person, but Lindstrom does a good job introducing the terms without making the readers feel that he’s slowing down the pace of the book. If someone happens to be a reader with interest or a slight intrigue into Nueroscience, Buy-ology is a fine book to help cultivate a thirst for knowledge into a growing field.