Researchers have found that images of sports cars affect the pleasure centre of the male brain the same way as sex and cocaine do, and carmakers are using this to better sell their cars.

Researchers have found that images of sports cars affect the pleasure centre of the male brain the same way as sex, chocolate and cocaine do, and carmakers are using this to better sell their cars.

Amongst others, DaimlerChrysler and Ford of Europe are seemingly resorting to hocus-pocus to sell cars by using medical research tools to probe consumers' brains. The plan behind neuromarketing is to gain insight into designing cars that are easier to use with greater consumer appeal.

Early results after using electrodes and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), has revealed that images of sports cars affect men's brains in the same way that sex, chocolate and cocaine do.

Ford hopes neuromarketing techniques will help it understand how consumers make emotional connections to brands, while in Germany, the DaimlerChrysler Research Centre has been at the forefront of neuromarketing. Some US researchers have even established consultancies that are already advising about marketing.

In one study, 12 men who were highly interested in cars were placed in a MRI scanner, a medical device normally used to detect tumours, shown pictures of cars and asked to rate them on attractiveness.

It was no big surprise then when those tested said sports cars were much more attractive than saloons or small cars. More interesting though was that the specific brain areas that showed activity when viewing a sports car are the same areas associated with rewards.

And while the field of neuromarketing is still very new, consumer advocates are already objecting slating it as manipulation or even a form of mind reading.

Original article from Car