I’m quickly making my way through Martin Lindstrom‘s book Buyology. It’s a fascinating read about the psychology behind our buying habits and what is used to influence our decisions.
To write the book, Lindstrom did three years’ worth of brain scan research to find our reactions to brands, logos, advertisements, etc. He explains that mirror neurons are why we smile when others smile, cry during Hallmark commercials, and jump like a loon when our team scores. He writes that mirror neurons cause our brains “to react as if we were actually performing these activities ourselves.” This explains why I was so sad when Iowa lost football games when I was younger. Now I’m just used to it. Go Hawks!
Here is where science, Lindstrom’s words, my experience, and Everybody Loves Raymond get together and have a big ‘ol lovefest.
When my wife and I had a TV, one of our favorite shows was Raymond. It was popular, funny, innocent enough, and seemingly fine. What I began to not appreciate was the snark and sarcasm written into the script each week. While funny at the outset, the problem began to rear its head when I noticed myself using the same snark and sarcasm with my wife.
Right now you’re saying something about how I’m crazy to think that a TV show can influence behavior.
Well, this rise in sarcasm was one of the reasons why we ditched our television however many years ago it was. And I wasn’t crazy about my observed behavior. Science backs me up.
Lindstrom writes that mirror neurons “are the reason why we often unwittingly imitate other people’s behavior.” What we were watching was behavior that wasn’t worth imitating.
Sure, it was funny on TV.
But try saying this to your significant other:
Marie: Oh I used to love Valentines Day!… then I met your father.
Frank: I used to love every day.
Or try any of these other “funny” quotes from funnytvquotes.com. Most of those lines have no place in a healthy relationship.
If science says we mimic what we see AND feel like we’re the ones doing the things that we see, why subject ourselves to stuff that isn’t beneficial?
How would you benefit from a change in what you feed your mirror neurons?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.