Neuromarketing in politics or 3 factors that will make you a president

neuromarketing in politics

This post is not on sports, but is meant to show that the methods I apply in sports neuromarketing easily and confidently work in other areas as well. Particularly, in politics.

Regular readers of my blog on sports neuromarketing have surely noticed my passion for the topic of the effect of oxytocin on human decision making process. Today the effect of oxytocin will also be present. However, it will be behind the scenes. In this post evolutionary psychology is a queen.

There exists an opinion that predisposition to democracy is in the DNA of our species. Yet this predisposition can be explained not only by the influence of oxytocin, but even evolutionary psychology has several approaches to offer. At the same time, all these approaches are compatible with each other.

Social status is vital for a human being (and for other species as well), for it is the social status that increases the probability of producing offspring. Producing offspring in turn is the main goal of a human being (and other species) as far as genes are concerned.

Therefore, people are extremely sensitive to the behavior lowering their status. It can be either ordinary rudeness on another person’s part, or some arrogance on the part of politicians.

I’ve done some projects in politics, so I can notice how popular these ideas are in this area. Especially now. Especially with the development of neuroscience.

Over the past 2016, we’ve witnessed two high-profile examples, when the understanding of this process was successfully applied. I’m talking about Brexit and Donald Trump. At the same time, less public examples are far more numerous.

In fact, there wins the candidate who meets certain requirements by his/her person and behavior, and also has an opportunity to bring together a competent team able to build a clear campaign with understanding of different aspects of influence on people.

The appearance, voice timbre, gender, height are all extremely important. But the most important thing here is to make it clear for people that you are in their group, that you are not an outsider.

The latest election in the US is an incredible number of failures. I can state that no one in the Western world has allowed such a number of failures for a long time. In fact, it was felt that the winner should be the candidate who would allow fewer failures.

It’s hard to believe, but the main failure was on Hillary Clinton’s part. She thought she had a victory in her pocket. And thus she started to demonstrate it along with the media supporting her. For example, here is one of the revealing parodies by SNL, demonstrating self-confidence of the kind.

Chimpanzees do not forgive such things. People at the dawn of civilization did not forgive this. Neither do people forgive it now. People can indeed turn a blind eye to sexism, racism and other unpleasant stuff, but not to such behavior.

People who were not die-hard fans of Hilary Clinton, turned their attention to Donald Trump, who continued to broadcast the idea that he was he one like them. This idea had been earlier translated with another specificity by Barack Obama.

American politicians are still very cautious about neuromarketing. However, in Latin America no major political campaign is being held without the use of neuromarketing. It is known that the services of neuromarketing are used by Polish and Turkish politicians.

Why do American politicians treat neuromarketing with caution? The interest is shown, but using it large-scale is too big of a risk for a very specific political peculiarity of the United States. The division into Republicans and Democrats has been created over the years. The essence has long ago stepped aside, but it is known that the candidates from these parties will get approximately similar number of votes.

In the case of other types of elections, the support of behavioral economics and psychology is being used. The candidate openly discusses exclusively populist laws, thus creating the image close to the electorate. In isolation from open discussion, the candidate negotiates with interested companies about selling his/her position on the laws that are of lesser concern for the general public. This is a standard scenario for the United States.

In Russia everything is even simpler than that. The old school methods + the general situation, as is the case with Russian politics in general. Although it is known that some people did show interest in neuromarketing and even got consulted by specialists. It’s worth pointing out though that large companies do not conduct neuromarketing research in politics on principal.

Now I suggest finding out what is necessary for creation of a winning political campaign.

First of all, make sure that you have enough resources. Neuromarketing is pretty expensive. Like any other big campaign. The difference lies in efficiency and in understanding of how the investments in the campaign work. Everything is measurable. When we invest in a brand, we can (and should) measure the effect later on in several ways with the help of neuromarketing.

How do we build an appeal to the target audience? Read my article “Simple logic of manipulation”. It describes the three main levels of appeal to the target audience: society, genes, the basis.

In the case of society, an appeal should be relevant to your target audience. You’ve got to consider beliefs, sympathies, understand the way of life, etc. It requires qualitative small data as well, that is the direct multiple communication with the target audience. The mirror neurons will help you feel your target audience to make an emotion aimed appeal.

An appeal to genes occurs with the help of evolutionary psychology, which is based on understanding the features of our species’ evolution.

The basis is the reproductive function of our body. It’s the only significant function, from which even the strive for life and for status in the society originate. The roots all our fine aspirations grow from the need for reproduction, dictated by our genes in the desire to leave our mark in as many copies as possible.

The “genes” and “basis” points are the most interesting, for they clearly demonstrate the whole essence of a human. There is a certain set of factors that makes one person more preferable for this or that role.


1. Appearance. The person should in general meet our ideas of how the best candidates for this role look like. Physical attractiveness is what we see first.

It is known that we tend to trust more those who are physically attractive, having symmetrical features, as well as to consider such people more competent. Politics is no exception.

Of course, there are many factors able to level out certain features. However, the example of US presidential candidates can make us see that there are basic patterns that distinguished the majority of the winning candidates.

But if the behavior and style can be changed, the change of height is problematic. While it is the height and general physical state that play an essential role. This is indicated by the study by Gregg R. Murray and J. David Schmitz.

Also, the researchers found out that physically well-developed males are more inclined to think of themselves as of qualified leaders. In addition, such males show a higher interest in leadership positions.


2. The voice. It’s a very interesting factor, which has been studied in many researches. For example, there is a well-known study demonstrating that males with a deeper voice are perceived by females as more attractive.

At the same time, there has been found a correlation for both males and females between the attractiveness of the voice and the attractiveness of the body and the face (the study on males, the study on females).

In 2013, there took place an extensive study, during which a team from Duke University and the University of California at San Diego analyzed 792 male CEOs among S&P 1500 companies.

The median CEO from the obtained database was at the age of 56, managed assets of $2.427 billion and had an annual salary of $3.692 million.

The results showed that a drop in the voice level for every 1.25 Hz (1% for a particular database) increased the annual salary by $19.000 and the company’s assets by $33 million (1.367% for this database).

Although females were not considered because of their small number among the CEOs of S&P 1500 companies, the researchers, using the logic found in their work, obtained comparative results. Using the data on the females’ average voice frequency in general (210 Hz), the researchers counted that the average size of assets of S&P 1500 companies, managed by females, should be $1.5 billion. The figure turned out to be quite close to reality – $1.7 billion.

Regarding politics, everything works in a similar way. According to Casey A. Klofstad’s research, voters do give preference to candidates with a lower voice (regardless of gender).


3. Body language. It’s the case when the context defines everything. Body language is somewhat overestimated. It does not mean that it plays no role, but in politics it is given so much attention that often falsehood is perceived. It is because of this falsehood that general mistrust arises. And it is also the reason why any unconscious manifestation of the body language attracts great attention.

As it was with Hillary Clinton’s shoulder movement during the presidential debate with Donald Trump.

This movement became much debated and provoked many parodies. But the essence was in Hillary’s joyful state, as a debate-lover.

Without context, it’s really hard for us to understand body language. Even the definition of basic emotions can cause difficulty without context. Body language is different in different cultures.


Conclusions: The physiological characteristics of a person have a great influence on voters. The role of a leader is a responsible position, for an excellent leader can cause confidence and positive emotions in his/her voters or subordinates.

It does not mean at all that if you aren’t tall enough and don’t possess a deep voice, you will not win in fair elections. It just means that your competitor has a significant advantage over you. However, there are many other factors which can help you achieve victory.

Neuromarketing can help you with this. If you need advice, creation and implementation of a strategy, write to me at E-mail, and we will reply to you within 24 hours.

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Best regards,

Leon The Alien


SEE ALSO: How to make a person change his/her mind


Images: Tumblr, Giphy