Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

Branded Brains

New research reveals impact of corporate brand names on the human brain

13th August 2002

New scientific research, published in the academic journal Brain and Language, suggests familiar brand names have their own unique impact on the human brain.

In an experiment carried out on 48 American students and published in August this year, psychologists at California University found brand names like 'sony' and 'compaq' had a special neuropsychological status in the part of the brain they trigger.

Up until now it was already known that proper names like 'London' affected the brain differently than common nouns like 'river', and so called non-words like 'beash' or 'noerds'. However, when researchers fired brand names at the students, they discovered their brains dealt with them as if they were a mixture of words and non words.

Common names were the most easily recognised words amongst the sample students and all words and non words tended to trigger the left hand side of the brain. Brand names on the other hand triggered the left side less, suggesting to the scientists that the right hand side of the brain - more associated with emotion - was involved in the neural reaction to corporate brand names. The researchers also found that brand names triggered greater neural responses if they were presented as capital letters, a situation not found with proper nouns or common nouns.

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