Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mirror Neurons and the NCAA Tournament

You know the feeling you get watching the NCAA tournament when the team you are pulling for makes a great play? Or the other team makes a comeback? Or when your team wins or losses?

That feeling pulls use into the game. It is almost like we are playing. I guess that is what being a fan is partly about. (The rest of being a fan is  - of course - taking a side and enjoying your enemies losing. Ah yes, even if I can't win, neither can you. It's OK - admit it, we all feel this way sometimes.)

Do you find yourself giving a fist pump when your guys make that great play?

Do you wonder what makes all this happen and do you think maybe you could use this to influence others?

According to Martin Lindstrom in his recent book "buy.ology" what is really going on here is our mirror neurons are firing away.

These are the same little devils that make us "taste" ice cream when we see someone else eating ice cream. And then guess what - we want ice cream ourselves. (Personally I always want ice cream so I'm not sure this is such a great example)

These are the physical reasons people imitate other peoples behavior. This is why recommendations from a trusted source are so valuable. It is how fads get started. It is why so often we decide we'll just have what those around us are having.

Assuming that is true - and I do, BTW - this is both powerful and scary. I like it when it works for me. I don't trust it when it works for anyone else. I certainly hope politicians and marketers never figure it out.

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