Exploring Neuromarketing and Its Reliance on Remote Sensing: Social and Ethical Concerns

Selena Nemorin, Oscar H. Gandy, Jr.


This article evaluates the consequences of neuromarketers’ reliance on direct and indirect forms of remote sensing. These remote sensing strategies, tactics, and resources include various sophisticated techniques for evaluating neuronal and behavioral responses to commercial messages with the aid of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology. The information generated with the aid of fMRI, in combination with inferences drawn from the massive data analyses enabled by machine learning techniques, is expected to contribute to the power and influence of market-oriented segmentation and targeting. After characterizing the current state of and future trends in applied neuromarketing research, we discuss how reliance on descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive communications strategies enabled by remote sensing will affect the life chances and well-being of segments of the global population. We conclude with a discussion of the moral and ethical implications of these developments, primarily in the context of public policy deliberations related to privacy and surveillance that we associate with remote sensing.


neuromarketing, remote sensing, ethics, privacy and surveillance, discrimination, inferential statistics, technology assessment

Full Text: