Brainwave research considered valuable info

One day, Nielsen will know what you like before you do.

The Nielsen Co. has made an investment in NeuroFocus, which applies brainwave research to advertising, programming and messaging.

They plan to create consumer measurement based on neuroscience advances.

“This alliance will enable us to gather truly unique insights about consumers’ attitudes and behavior about which they themselves may not even be fully aware, and will complement our other measures of consumer behavior,” says Nielsen exec VP Susan Whiting.

NeuroFocus uses brainwave, eye-tracking and “skin conductance” measurements “to track the effectiveness of advertising, branding, packaging, pricing and product design across a broad range of consumer touchpoints.”

Sounds a little more invasive than Nielsen diaries or people meters.

But unlike those styles of measurement, which can only measure viewership by program or by several-minute intervals, NeuroFocus is already able to measure consumers’ attention, engagement and memory retention on a millisecond-by-millisecond basis.

People wear a baseball cap “embedded with sensors that track brain responses about 2000 times a second,” the company says.

“NeuroFocus can precisely and instantaneously determine what parts of the messages they pay attention to; how they emotionally engage with them; and what is actually moved to memory,” it adds.

George Orwell, eat your heart out.

Nielsen’s relationship with NeuroFocus doesn’t necessarily relate to TV ratings; after all, Nielsen’s various companies measure a wide variety of consumer information.

But just imagine a world where NeuroFocus is used to directly measure the brain’s reaction to TV shows. Perhaps Nielsen ratings that come out before a show actually airs. Talk about “fast nationals.”

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