While aimlessly surfing the web last night (Law & Order was a re-run) I stumbled on research by neurologist Paul D. Maclean. According to Maclean we have not one but three fairly independent brains. He describes them as follows: a lizzard brain, a dog brain, and a human brain. (I was surprised there was no bird brain, but that could be a variation of the lizzard brain that causes people to do really dumb things).
The lizard brain evolved first – it is very small and just controls the basics such as breathing, vision and bodily movements and very elemental emotions such as anger or lust.
Then came the dog brain (limbic system) which grew on top of the lizard brain – and controls the basic functions (in a more advanced way) and adds in emotions such as love and loyalty.
Then finally came the human brain (neo-cortex) and with it all the sophistication with goes with languge.
James Thornton, over at The Bumble Bee, had this to say about the human brain :“This neo-cortex is functionally semi-independent from the lizard and dog brains. That is why our experience is so odd. Consider this: language lies in the human brain, but emotions lie within the separate dog and lizard brains. So the emotions are in a different world from language entirely. Not only that, reason too lives in the new human brain while emotions live in the older brains. The lizard and dog brains are running their emotion programs while the human brain is running its thinking programs. They don’t have too much to do with each other. “
So from a marketer’s point of view, the independence among the three brains proposed by Maclean, helps explain why so few messages delivered by language alone stick in the minds of the intended audiences, and why there is no emotional connection to the messages.