A three-year, $7 million neuromarketing study done in Oxford, England has found that cigarette health warning labels actually make smokers want to smoke more, not less. Neuromarketing research studies how the brain reacts to various types of marketing stimuli. Researchers studied 2,000 people from five different countries using sophisticated brain-testing technology, like electroencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to gain a better understanding of consumer behavior. A surprising finding involved the health warning labels placed on cigarette packs. Researchers asked subjects if the warning labels worked to help them reduce smoking, and most said "yes." But when they repeated the same question while flashing images of the labels to the subjects while they underwent an MRI, they found that the images activated "craving spots" in the brain, indicating that the health warnings actually encourage smokers to smoke more.
By Anne Landman on October 24, 2008