When pizza and a starlet compete for attention

     
   

When both food and a sexy starlet appear in a television commercial, pizza stirs up more brain activity, but increased stimulation from either doesn’t necessarily boost sales.

Ads trigger a battle within the brain, said Joshua Freedman, M.D. ’88, associate clinical professor at the UCLA Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He conducted fMRI studies on subjects watching Pizza Hut commercials and found that shots of food “dominate” despite scenes of the scantily clad Jessica Simpson.

“Food tends to produce lots of activity in different parts of the brain,” Freedman told an audience at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity in October. The orbitofrontal portion of the prefrontal cortex typically associated with emotional connection may light up; however, the insula, which produces the sensation of disgust (perhaps at the idea that pizza is fattening), is also activated. “The battle is drawn, but it is unclear which region of the brain will win out,” Freedman said.

Advertisers know how to get attention, but there is bad attention as well as good, he said. “At the very least, if they saw these results they’d probably stop paying for expensive models.”


 

Other On Campus


Accounting for sex differences in medicine

Accounting for sex differences in medicine

The key to healing men often lies in studying women first, according to a Yale expert who said that...

Read more...


Outside the bounds of polite conversation

Outside the bounds of polite conversation

Author and physician Perri Klass explores the connections between medicine and literature.

Read more...

Download on the Apple App Store