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Public health social media communications and consumer neuroscience

By Joanne M. Harris, Joseph Ciorciari and John Gountas


Consumer neuroscience is an emerging discipline. Potential exists for neurological quantitative research techniques to be used for the development and analysis of public health messages due to limited numbers of successful campaigns. In some instances, highly successful public health marketing campaigns have been designed to address something greater than financial gain and have achieved exceptional reach. This results in increased public awareness using social amplification platforms. Examples of these include action-oriented social media campaigns that ask individuals to “act”, “share”, “pledge” or “challenge” on behalf of a health or social cause. Neurological and physiological techniques include functional magnetic resonance imaging, magnetoencephalography, electroencephalography, eye tracking, galvanic skin response, heart rate, facial recognition and implicit association testing. Due to nonconscious decision-making processes these techniques have the potential to identify driving forces behind individuals’ decision to become involved in health and social cause marketing campaigns that are unable to be identified with qualitative research methods. In 2014/2015 the Australian Government spent $23.3 million Australian dollars (AUD) on health and social service marketing campaigns, with $19.4 million AUD on health communications, and $3.9 million AUD on social services. These figures are considered conservative as expenditure on marketing campaigns below $250 thousand AUD is excluded. Thus, using consumer neuroscience to inform the design of future public health and social cause communications, which may help to save a life, while reducing expenditure on unsuccessful campaigns, requires greater understanding of the effectiveness of a positive action orientation vs. a fear and shock approach

Topics: consumer neuroscience, public health communications, social media platforms, Psychology, BF1-990, Neurophysiology and neuropsychology, QP351-495
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1080/23311908.2018.1434058
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