Breaking predictions, building memories

“If you’re Amazon, seamlessness is brilliant, because the more people run their prediction and the less they think, the more you’re their automatic prediction.”

In his early years of teaching, Jared Cooney Horvath was surprised at the amount of hype around the brain. It was, unfortunately, only hype. “The brain was getting really sexy,” he recalls. “Everyone was coming into our school saying ‘you need to know about the brain and you’ve got to buy this product and you’ve got to teach your kids this’.”

But none of them knew what they were talking about. It was a buzzword. So, he went to school to learn it himself, completing a masters in Mind, Brain and Education at Harvard and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Melbourne.

While education still makes up the majority of his focus – he’s now a lecturer at the University of Melbourne – he is interested in how marketing and trying to understand how the brain functions can be applied to help brands understand consumers.

He caught up with Marketing before speaking at Initiative’s ‘The Science of Stickiness’ event to explain how the brain really works and how branding must break predictions if it’s going to work at all.

Marketing: What are some key patterns or things marketers and educators should be thinking about the brain?

Jared Cooney Horvath: The brain works in the complete opposite way that most people think. The assumption is: information gets in, the brain triggers off systems and that’s your experience of the world – it’s organising that information as it’s coming in. In reality it is the

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