This is our intelligence. This is how we build airplanes and smartphones. It is what separates us from the animals. The word Neo meaning new tells us that it is the most recent part of our brain to develop and we use it to understand the world around us and to build skyscrapers.
As much as people like to think they make rational decisions when it comes to purchasing or anything really, the truth is that they make decisions with the limbic system part of their brain and then they use to their neocortex to justify it with logic afterwards. Only last week, my wife and I were doing the weekly shopping and just as we were paying she said she wanted a drink. So she went to get one. She said she was going to get water but she came back with Fanta. Now just in case you don’t know Fanta is about as far from water as you can get. It is luminous yellow for a start, fizzy and packed with refined sugar. Water, it is not. So when we were leaving the shop I said I thought you were getting water? And she then followed the classic buyers profile. She backed up her purchase with logic. She said it was on special offer, she hadn’t had one in ages and it was the weekend, whatever that meant. Think about it though, did she consider all of those things before making a decision? I seriously doubt it. She saw it, make a snap decision, grabbed the bottle and then justified it afterwards.
If the Neocortex is the new brain then it stands to reason that the emotional brain is the old brain. The old brain has one question that it continuously asks. ‘What’s in it for me?’ is the mentality, self-centred and proud of it.
If you needed any more convincing to how in control your emotional brain is start to become aware of the adverts that pass by your eyes and ears on a daily basis. Advertisement companies are masters at selling you. When advertisers are given the task of selling a product, they know they must evoke an emotion in the most basic part of our brain. They get told this on day 1 of advertising school. It is not new information to them but it might be to you. Why? Because if you know about it, you might start fighting back and we can’t have that. You have to keep consuming. They get you to buy all the things you don’t need by creating what are known as beliefs. A belief is simply something we consider to be true. For instance, looking both ways when crossing the street is a good belief, regardless of whether or not you have ever had the misfortune of being hit by a car. Beliefs are so strong that not only do they get you buy something but they get you to want to buy it. Now that is absolutely crazy when you think about it. Remember when mobile phones first came out? They were amazing, they allowed us to connect with each other across the country with no wires. It truly was incredible. And we were happy with that. The mobile companies however were not. They convinced us that we needed to get the next model that was slightly smaller and it had games. This continued for a few years, phones getting smaller and smaller. And we all bought the story about what we needed. Then when phones got as small as they could with the technology they had available to them it was time to change the story. Phones were all about being bigger. Granted Apple paved the way for smart phones and bigger screens but think about how they were sold to us. Taglines in the vein of ‘Our smallest one yet’. Then along came the iPhone and it was time to change the story. It was time to change the belief about what people needed. You still have a tiny Nokia phone? How are you going to check your emails on that?! Mobile phones changed from being a way to talk to your husband or wife about what to get in the store for dinner into something that became an extension of our arms. Can you imagine doing pretty much anything these days without your phone? Studies have shown that people suffer from separation anxiety when they are without their phone for a prolonged period of time. Think about that. We have swallowed the belief so wholeheartedly that we cannot bear to be apart from our beloved device. Not only that but now have to buy not just the mobile phone but the tablet, the phablet, the laptop and a desktop PC just in case. We also have to be connected at all times to all of our social media accounts in case we miss out on what someone who we haven’t spoken to in 13 years had for dinner. My point is, in a roundabout way is that beliefs are powerful powerful parts of our psyche. They drive every single decision that we make. They decide what we consider to be fun.