Welcome back to this course in consumer neuroscience and neuro-marketing. Today we will talk about attention and consciousness, which is all about what drives our attention, our willful focusing on something, automatic attention. But also what we experience and what we don't experience even though our minds are working at full speed. First, let's start with a definition of attention. And if we work back to William James more than a century ago. He focused on what attention was. He said, well what is attention? Well, it's the focusing of our minds in clear and vivid form. And it's also a selection process. So in order to focus on some things we need to reject other things. We can't focus on all things at once basically. He also says that in order to focus on some things we need to reject other things in order to process the things we focus on much more and much better. And let's do a little card trick. What I want you to do is to pick a card. I'm going to show a set of cards to you, there going to be present on the screen for a few seconds. Just pick one card and remember the card. Here we go. Pick a card, remember the card, now it's gone, think about the card because now I'm going to take that card away. Did it work? Let's do it again, and this time, pick another card. I'm going to show you a set of cards. Now, pick another card and remember that card. Okay, here we go. And remember the card. And now I'm taking it away again. Now you realized that the card trick was just a trick. The reason that the card trick works is because that I'm changing all the cards. What this card trick tells us is that our attention is limited. While you're focusing on one card, you can't focus in on all the other cards. The way we tend to think about this is that attention is like a bottleneck. You can't just pour information through your system and expect that your brain can capture all that information. Attention can only focus on some things at one time at the cost of other things. When we think about attention, we need to distinguish between two different processes, one that is called bottom-up and one that is called top-down. You can think of this one. Imagine that you're going into a store and you're looking for something particular. This is a top-down search. You're looking for some orange juice, for example. Within the store, you're accidentally bumping into things. You see a piece of chocolate, for example. You didn't intend to buy it. You didn't intend to look for it. But you are accidentally looking at it. This is what we can call bottom-up attention. And today, we're going to talk about bottom-up versus top-down. If you think about bottom-up attention, these are the things that automatically grab your attention. For example, things here in the world, such as contrast, density, brightness, movement, and so forth are things that automatically grab your eye's attention. You automatically start to look at them. As you can see from the examples on the screen you'll see that there are things like colors shapes densities that basically attract your eyes automatically. You just look at them, they just pop out what happens is that there are certain receptors in your eyes that are more responsive to some things than other such as contrast and density. And through their signalling to the thalamus of the brain, a deep structure of the brain. It engages visual attention. The thalamus then projects back to the primary visual cortex, the back of your head. What happens is that your eyes are detecting some changes. They're detecting differences, changes, movements and they are projecting that back to the brain. But the first place in the brain that receives the signal is the thalamus, a deep structure in the brain which then projects further back to the visual cortex, the primary visual cortex. And at this stage, this is where the bottom of attention occurs. The effects bottom-up attention, which is also called visual saliency, is famously described in one article by Millie In this paper she and her colleagues ran a series of studies that demonstrated that just by changing the saliency, the visual appearance of a product. People are more likely to look at it, and also more likely to buy it. So this means that if you and change the way in which a product is visually appealing, then you can change the way in which that people are going to look at it automatically, and also the likelihood that they're going to buy it. I urge to, to read that paper as soon as you can. The interesting thing about bottom-up attention is that we know this process so well. We understand the brain basis of exactly what's going on. And this allows us to make models, mathematical computational models. Such as neurovision. Neurovision is a model that modulates and emulates the way in which our primary visual cortex receives signals from the eyes and processes that information. It predicts, just based on mathematics, the likelihood that people are going to look at particular parts of a screen or part of the visual work. Having this tool allows researchers to automatically analyze images and videos. And the images and videos that are analyzed, point to regions that are most likely to grab people's attention automatically. It doesn't tell where people are motivated to look for, it tells what people are automatically going to look at. The opposite example is top-down attention. Now, where we saw that bottom of attention is the automatic process, we can think of top-down attention as the exact opposite of that. This is where you need to focus your mental energy. You need to think hard about what you want to look at such as reading a boring book for example. Take this example. I want you to solve this task that, that you see on the screen right now. There's a puzzle missing in the piece to your left. And there are five different options. The only one option is the correct one. Which one is the correct one? So one thing is whether you perform that task well or not, but at the same time, please notice that while you're doing this task, you can't at the same time think about what you're doing tomorrow. So attention has to [INAUDIBLE] and top-down attention like this is problem solving task is a very good example of that. When we look at the how the brain is working during top-down attention, we can see a different network at stake. We can see that the frontal part of the brain and the parietal part of the brain in, is engaged. They are modulating the activation of the primary visual cortex and other visual regions of the brain. Take this example of an in store walk. What you can see here is the red dots are indicating where people are looking while they are walking down the store. You can see that they're looking at the price, they're looking at the product, they're orienting themselves, looking at different signs. And at the same time they're also missing out some things, they're not looking at everything at once. So as you can see, attention, the visual attention that people are showing is a limited attentions span. They're looking at some things, at the cost of other things. Let's take the example of in-store attention. So I briefly explain last time we run a study in an retail environment. Before people went into the store they're exposed to ads and unbenounced to them one of those ads were for particular brand. Opaint, only one group received that in the patrol group, so all the other ads except that particular ad. After seeing the commercial people were went into the store wearing height tracking glasses and EG equipments. This allowed us to both look at where people were looking, but also at their emotional cognitive responses while they were in the store. What we gave them was a set of different tasks. Now we were mostly interested in just one particular task, which we intermixed on the task list. People were free to walk wherever they wanted to, and we were interested in when they reached the paint shelf. The task they had was to find some paint that they would like to use for their living room. What we saw was that the group that were not exposed to the particular ad, of the, among those, it was 78% that bought that particular brand of paint, which is fairly good. There were two different experimental groups. One group that saw a 50-second version of the ad. And another group that saw a 30-second version of the ad. Now, what we saw was that the 50-second version increased the sales up until the 90s. So, 91% sales of the, of that brand. Those who saw the 30-second version of the ad had an 100% sales. That means, everyone that saw the 30 second version of the ad bought that particular brand. After the trip to the store, we asked every participant why they had bought that particular brand of paint. What we got was a lot of interesting answers. But not the answer we were looking for. So, what people told us was that they liked the color, maybe they liked the brand, but they didn't link seeing the ad with buying the brand. Even when we showed them the brand, and the ad they had seen, they said that, no, they didn't think they were affected by the ad. What we then did was to go back to what happened with their visual attention while they were in the store facing the shelves. What we saw, that compared to the group that didn't see the ad, those groups that had seen the ad explored the shelves much more. You can see that on the visual attention heat map here that people are exploring the shelves much more than the control group. What this study shows us is that visual attention can be affected by ads, even when we are unaware of those effects. It also shows that, as consumers, we can be affected by ads and other consumer communications without being aware of those. And finally, it also shows us that using eye tracking, even in this store environment. And help us understand the consumer buying process. We'll now turn to the topic of consciousness. Consciousness might be a term that you find easy to define, but once you start thinking about it, might not be that easy after all. Think about it this way. Is it a long time since you were unconscious? You probably would say, yes, that's a long time, lad. I've never been unconscious. That's false, because every single night, you're unconscious during your deep sleep. So, in this way, we can think about consciousness as a state. Consciousness is a state of mind that describes what it's like to be awake during the day. As opposed to being in deep sleep, in coma or under general anaesthesia. That's one way of looking at consciousness. The other way of looking at consciousness is to think of it as what we experience. So, now we are awake. We're not in sleep anymore. Now we are experiencing things, and what we are thinking about right here and right now, is the moment of our experience. And just as with attention, what you experience is at the cost of other things you could experience. So, consciousness in this sense is about the conscious content. In this course, we are not talking about consciousness as a state, we assume that consumers are awake, that they are not in coma and they're not in deep sleep. Even so when they look at the brain of being in deep sleep, we can see that there is a wide spread deactivation of the brain. In the figure you can see here, the black regions of the brain represent regions of the brain that show lower activation when we are losing consciousness. This seems to be a general phenomenon across all different kinds of ways we lose consciousness. About a decade ago, we ran a study using FMRI to study how the brain responded when people became aware of the stimulus. So we had people look at different figures that were shown very rapidly. And they reported whether they saw the, something. Whether they didn't see anything or whether they had a vague, vague experience of what they saw. By contrasting and looking at the difference between unconscious perception, so people were exposed to a stimulus but they didn't see it, as opposed to when they, where it's supposed to is the most and reported by they have a clear vision of what they saw. We could see a widespread activation of the brain. All we could see is the frontal part of the brain, the peridal part of the brain, the thalamus, and the visual cortexes, all being engaged. What this tells us is that the brain consumes a lot of energy. It requires a lot of widespread activation to become conscious of something. And as you can imagine, being conscious is therefore very costly. Thinking about the size of the brain, it's about one and a half kilograms. But despite its, its small size, it consumes about 20% of the energy of the body. That also means that the brain needs to be careful with how much energy it uses. If it can be unconscious, if it can run on auto-pilot, it will do that. The brain consumes so much energy that it will require to run autopilot as soon as possible. And it does that really well. For example, take riding a bike, it's easy now for you to probably, to ride a bike. The first times you rode the bike was hard for you because you had to learn every single thread on the pedal. But now, it's probably even dangerous for you to start thinking about where you're treading and how you're balancing. So, the autopilots in your mind are really there for a purpose. They can relieve your mental energy and your powers to think about other things that are more important. So if you compare conscious to unconscious processes, you can see that consciousness is there for a purpose. It's there for dealing with flexible, challenging situations. While the unconscious mind is very good for things that don't require that. They can run on autopilot, such as driving a car, or riding a back. In the recent study, Martin [INAUDIBLE] and myself tested whether brand preference could affect people's conscious threshold. That means that is it so that you're more likely to detect things you like and dislike than things that you are ignorant about in the every day as well. What we found, just by showing brand names very quickly, just a fraction of a second, was that the more people liked or disliked the brand, the more easy it was for them to see it. What this study shows is that consciousness is not a static phenomenon, but it's really much affected by our preference for brands. It also shows that brands can actually imbue value to people. In such a way that it increases or decreases the likelihood that they will be seen in the environment. The point of talking about consciousness and unconsciousness is that if everything was conscious. If everything we did was conscious even our thoughts and our decisions and our emotions were conscious. And, if we wanted to study consumer behavior we could just ask people. The problem is that a lot of things that we do as consumers is unconscious. This means that we need a new set of tools to understand the unconscious mind. Next time we will talk about sensory neuromarketing. Which is about the senses and how the senses are merging. But, also affecting our experience as consumers. Until next time, I look forward to see you then.