"I think the focus group is going to be a thing of the past because of neuromarketing," Dooley tells us. "The problem is that a focus group is typically just asking people what they think about a product. Would they buy it? What do they like about it? And it’s not really getting into their subconscious at all, and the results may be misleading. Often times people can’t really describe why they do something, and they may not provide accurate information about what they would do in the future, such as purchase the product."
"You have the brain scan approach, which is sort of bypassing even asking people anything and just seeing how they react," he adds. "There’s another technique, not widely used, but it’s interesting – called facial coding, and basically an expert in reading facial expressions monitors people’s reactions including a word called microexpressions – these are like fleeting little expression changes that a normal observer wouldn’t even notice, but a trained observer can see, and again, they use this to see if a person is watching a television commercial – how are they reacting emotionally. Maybe they’re showing a social smile – trying to be pleasant – but during one part of the commercial, there’s sort of a fleeting disgust reaction – that’s what they’re trying to see using that technique."