February 6th, 2019
Reading time: 5 min
On Super Bowl Sunday, 33 people sat in a California bar watching a boring football game. Some watched intently; some focused on their food and drink. These weren’t ordinary fans, though. They had been recruited by Dr. Paul J. Zak, the director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, to partake in a study about Super Bowls ads.
For the entire game, each person watched the broadcast with a band wrapped near the crook of their arm. The sensor, created by Dr. Zak’s company Immersion Neuroscience, is called the INBand. It measures the neurochemical oxytocin, which scores how immersed people are in stimuli like movies, TV shows, and Cardi B Pepsi commercials. According to Dr. Zak’s research over the last decade, higher levels of oxytocin increase empathy, help people recall information accurately, and encourage them to take action. For a brand spending $5.25 million just on airtime, that has huge implications.