Is Neuropolitics Being Used to Hack into Voters’ Brains?

As a member of the complex and ever-evolving political ecosystem, it is your job to stay up on the latest trends, tools, tactics, and campaign planning strategies. You are also tasked with differentiating between the latest fads in campaign planning and actionable concepts that could influence the outcome of an election cycle. 

However, telling the difference is not always easy, especially when it comes to “neuropolitics,” a trendy buzzword that has recently resurfaced.

Depending on who you ask, neuropolitics is either the next big thing in political planning or pseudoscience that can take your campaign off the rails and cause you to waste precious marketing dollars. As is often the case in the world of politics, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

On that note, let’s dive deeper into what neuropolitics is, what it isn’t, and what implications it may have for the future of American politics. 

What Is Neuropolitics?

Neuropolitics is a field focused on attempting to explain constituents’ political decision-making processes by “focusing on the specific neuroscientific physiology of individuals and groups.” 

Additionally, the field considers other factors that may shape an individual’s political behavior, including the conduct of politicians, interactions with others, and attitudes toward policies, laws, or societal issues.

There are several branches of neuropolitics, each of which studies specific pathways of political decision-making. Some branches also examine the potential impacts of the political ecosystem on brain development. As a relatively new field, neuropolitics is still evolving, which makes it difficult to define and even harder to understand. 

The History of Neuropolitics

The origin of neuropolitics can be traced back thousands of years. Great thinkers like Plato speculated about how individuals process information provided by those in power. 

Hundreds of years later, experimenters like Roger Sperry would explore the connection between neurological processes and political decision-making. During his experiments, Sperry discovered that people with brain dysfunction could be prompted to change their political views when exposed to specific stimuli.

While the speculations of Plato and the work of Sperry laid the foundation for neuropolitics, Frans de Waal is one of the most notable contributors to the field. His work on the politics of chimpanzees centered around how animals would make strategic alliances to manipulate third parties. Eventually, researchers would apply this theory to humans, thus creating the field of neuropolitics that we know today. 

What Is Neuromarketing?

Neuropolitics is often linked to another niche type of neuroscience known as “neuromarketing.” 

This connection should come as no surprise, as political campaigns have often employed traditional marketing strategies to generate awareness about important issues, share information about their candidate, and differentiate themselves from the opposing camp. 

The use of neuromarketing in the political arena is the natural progression of this long-standing relationship between marketing and politics. 

Broadly speaking, neuromarketing is the process of measuring neural and physiological signs to gain a better understanding of customers’ motivations, decision-making processes, and preferences. 

The insights gleaned from neuromarketing can be used to create more engaging content, reach new audiences, improve the ROI of advertisements, and more effectively connect with consumers.

From the political perspective, campaigns can use neuromarketing and neuropolitics to better understand their constituents. With these insights, they can elicit powerful emotional responses, mobilize voters to support a particular initiative or candidate and achieve campaign goals with curated content. 

Neuropolitics: Hokey Theory or Practical Tool for Campaign Planning?

At first glance, neuropolitics might sound more like something from a science fiction novel than a scientific field of study. However, neuropolitics and neuromarketing are not just hokey theories. They have the potential to become powerful tools that could shape future elections.

The insights gained through neuropolitics can be applied to campaigns. Candidates can use neuroscientific data about their constituents to communicate decisions, garner support for important bills, influence behavior, and more. 

How AI and ML Are Fueling the Evolution of Neuropolitics

To date, neuropolitics does not appear to have any significant impact on the outcome of elections. However, moving forward, this rapidly evolving field of scientific study has the potential to play a major role in voters’ decision-making processes. The advancement of this exciting field is being driven by two revolutionary technologies: artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

Neuropolitics centers around collecting an abundance of physiological, neurological, and psychological data about voters. AI and ML technologies have made it easier to harvest this data at scale. 

However, gathering information about voters is only the beginning. To guide neuromarketing efforts, scientists also need a way to analyze the data they collect.

Once again, AI and ML technologies hold the key. Together, these solutions allow researchers to organize, structure, and analyze massive amounts of voter data. They can use these tools to identify trends in behavior and better understand what causes individuals to vote the way they do. 

Leverage Neuromarketing with Award-Winning Political Data

While neuropolitics and neuromarketing have not yet become mainstream fields, your team can apply concepts from both disciplines to create more effective campaign strategies. To do that, you need access to a wealth of high-quality, reliable political data.

By connecting with Aristotle, you can tap into hundreds of millions of consumer files and voter records. Additionally, you can integrate our compliance, data management, and analytics tools into your workflow to create a more agile and efficient campaign. 

To learn more about how Aristotle can support your political goals, connect with our team and schedule your demo today.

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