Our 3 brains in making buying decisions

When we shop online, we sometimes feel an irresistible urge to buy a pair of shoes, a dress, or even a trip, a property. For marketers, it is necessary to understand this mechanism in order to establish a marketing strategy that takes into account various parameters, including those related to the functioning of our brain, or rather our three brains. It is in this context that the concept of neuromarketing was conceived. Before we move on, let’s take a moment to get to know the three brains and their respective roles…

three brains and their roles

Our brain, as we know, is made up of two hemispheres. The right brain deals with emotion and intuition. The left side is the rational brain, which favors logic. It is also used for communication and analysis. That’s why some people are more rational while others are more intuitive. But the brain’s cognitive functions are much more complex. In addition to the right and left brain, it also has 3 layers, as suggested by the triune brain theory. The oldest is the reptilian brain, followed by the limbic brain and covered on the outside by the neocortex.

reptile brain

The reptilian brain is the one that was first awarded to humans. They had to contend with a harsh and unforgiving environment that they were just beginning to understand. The reptilian brain allowed them to survive thanks to their instincts, which directed them what to do in the immediate future. It is the brain that balances their bodies by controlling oxygen, temperature and heart rate, among other things. When a situation requires an immediate response, the reptilian brain provokes an instinctive reflex that can result in flight, or an intense feeling of happiness that we have great difficulty resisting.

limbic brain

The limbic brain or intermediate brain, or emotional brain, is responsible for managing our emotions. It is also involved in the preservation of our long-term memory. Important events, pain or fear are remembered there and allow us to adapt our responses when these situations occur again. However, there is also a small downside to this. Although it is essential for our learning and helps us manage our emotions, it is also what leads us to unconsciously make value judgments.


The last brain is the one that was formed last. It forms the outer part of the cerebral cortex. It is also called the neopallium or isocortex. It is the center of our rational mind, but it is also what forces us to listen to reason or directs us to reason. It is also about creativity. In our current world, this is what prevails. All the decisions taken should be taken after a long rational analysis. Pros and cons are weighed, dissected. Spontaneity and instinct are suppressed.

All the three brains are dependent on each other in their functioning. So in terms of shopping, it is the reptilian brain that is the first to receive information. It passes through the midbrain before reaching the neocortex. It will analyze it and determine whether the purchase is useful and whether we really need it. But it seems clear that in the end it is the primitive brain that will have the last word.

Neuromarketing and the relationship between the three brains

Neuromarketing is a concept that originated in the early 2000s under the direction of Reed Montague, a doctor of neurology at the University of Texas. The principle of this method is based on the results obtained using two techniques, which aim to identify the spontaneous electrical activity of the consumer’s brain and thus determine the attitude adopted by the consumer before concluding a purchase. For businesses, neuroscience enables them to anticipate their actions and better optimize their advertising strategy.

Use of Imaging Methods in Neuromarketing

The first method uses electroencephalography, or EEG. Electrodes attached to the consumer’s head make it possible to record electrical activity and the waves emitted by neurons according to the situation faced by him. These waves depend on whether he is excited, happy or angry.

The second method is functional magnetic resonance imaging, which uses a machine that maps variations in blood flow according to the intensity of the consumer’s brain activity. Even the smallest changes are recorded and provide insight into the primitive brain believed to be the center of pleasure.

Underlying message to stimulate the three brains

Studies have shown that when we come across a product we crave, we unconsciously decide to buy it at all costs. Marketers have understood this and are playing on it. Thus, in some shops, artisans work directly before our eyes to arouse the interest, emotion or desire of passers-by. Other stores prefer the layout of their space, the presentation of their products to such an extent that the customer projects himself and cannot resist the urge to buy. Everything is done by marketers to excite the primitive brain. He takes the final decision.

various buying decisions

However, it should be noted that there are several types of purchasing decisions that need to be known for the neuromarketing method to be effective. We do essential daily shopping when we go to the supermarket. During these daily or weekly shopping, it may happen that we suddenly want to buy a product which is not necessarily useful, but which does not cost a lot. Limited purchases are made after some deliberation, but mainly relate to products from well-known brands. But it may happen that a purchase is made after extensive online research, reading consumer reviews.

Neuroscience to adjust stimuli according to audience

Based on analyzes made through neuroscience, marketers are able to define what sparks consumers’ interest, what makes them react, what drives their decisions. To optimize results, they are subjected to visual, olfactory or sound stimuli intended to provoke their desire to buy a product. It can be the smell of perfume floating in the air, an advertisement whose message evokes emotion, music that evokes a pleasant memory or a retrograde taste that brings back happy days of childhood. . Note that some consumers do not react to emotion. They make their purchases after getting information about their usefulness or effectiveness.


Although neuromarketing is now widely acclaimed by companies, it is a practice that is highly regulated in France. The Bioethics Law promulgated in July 2011 prohibits the creation of companies operating in the field of neuromarketing. This law clearly stipulates in Articles 16-14 of the Civil Code that brain imaging technology is dedicated only for scientific or medical use. The fact is that many companies use it to optimize their sales and to be able to deal with large international groups. currently, It is necessary to change marketing strategies To reach a wider audience. The use of neuromarketing is a way to entice customers who may not be comfortable expressing themselves and by playing on their emotional fibers to give them a sense of belonging.

Recent Articles

Related Stories

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox