Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Cute Animals Get Attention In Advertising
Animals have a special place in the human heart. Now, researchers are reporting that creatures great and small also have a special place in our heads.
A team led by researchers at Caltech has found individual brain cells that respond when a person sees an animal, but not when that person sees another person, a place, or an object.
The cells were found in the amygdala, an almond-shaped part of the brain involved in emotions, including fear. And they responded to any kind of animal, including spiders, dogs and rodents, says Christof Koch, a researcher at Caltech and the lead author of the study, published in Nature Neuroscience.
One reason present-day humans have these cells may be because some animals posed a threat to our ancestors, Koch says. Specialized cells could have helped the brain respond quickly to danger, he says.
Koch says he was reminded of how important a quick response can be during a recent run along a mountainous trail in Los Angeles.
"As I was about to step down I saw there was a rattlesnake," he says. "By the time I realized it, by the time I felt fear, you say, oh my god there's a snake, I had already automatically extended my legs, my stride was larger so I didn't step on the snake."
That's a good example of why our brains pay special attention to animals. The new study, he says, helps explain how.
The 'Peter Rabbit Cell,' Programmed For Cuteness
The discovery came while Koch and other researchers were studying the brains of 41 people about to have surgery for severe epilepsy. To find the source of their seizures, doctors placed electrodes deep in the brain.
The researchers looked to see how cells in several parts of the brain responded to a variety of images. But it was only in the amygdala that they found cells firing specifically in response to animals, Koch says.
That makes sense, Koch says because the amygdala "seems to be specialized in alerting us to things that are emotionally important to us — either positive or because they're scary."
So you can use many types of animal images to get attention in your business ads. Want help with your business printing needs? Call MI Printing 623.582.1302 and lets us help.
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