Unlocking the Brain’s Secrets About Creativity and Decision Making

During the Holmes Global PR Summit in Miami a couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of hosting a session called “Unlocking the Brain’s Secrets About Creativity and Decision Making” with esteemed neuroscientist and best-selling author, Dr. David Eagleman. Our session explored his theories about the extent to which subconscious perceptions inform our daily interactions, our approach to creativity as well as our purchasing decisions.

In the video below, I sat down with David after the discussion and asked him to elaborate on some of his theories about the limitations of market research and how the brain aggregates innovative ideas. He asserted that consumers’ responses to questions posed during market research studies are not necessarily reflective of the innate urges that drove them to pick a given bar of soap over another or decline a piece of chocolate cake. David’s research probes deeper into the complex, and often conflicting factors, like price, emotional experience, and social contextualization that drive a decision.

We also touched on how the brain produces creative ideas. David explained that the conscious brain is ruthlessly efficient, so typically it will conceive of its first idea rather quickly. Instead of stopping there, effective creative thinkers must train themselves to reexamine an idea and amplify it, first aiming for quantity and then filtering out those ideas that are not of high quality. This is the same premise upon which many of Ketchum’s creative tools and processes are based and is consistent with how we leverage our brainstorming sessions to generate creative ideas that stand out and get business results for our clients.

I hope you enjoy learning from David’s unique perspective on how the way our brain functions effect all aspects of how consumers process our messages and make purchase decisions.

Rob Flaherty is Chairman of Ketchum, the global communications consultancy with 130 offices and affiliates worldwide. He is on the board of the Arthur W. Page Society, the Institute for Public Relations and the advisory board of Room to Read, which focuses on literacy and girls education in developing nations. Follow Rob on Twitter at @flahertyrob.