What will be the best Super Bowl commercial? Science may have the answer

Super Bowl XLIX is nigh, meaning every ad agency with a few million bucks at their disposal is feverishly trying to come up with a commercial that resonates with the masses—last year’s NFL championship game drew 111.5 million viewers. This year, though, scientists have gotten in on the action. Researchers at Temple University used a variety of methods to track more than 300 participants as they watched TV ads. Techniques ranged from written surveys to skin conductance to eye tracking, but it was the functional magnetic resonance imaging scan that correlated the best with an ad’s success. In particular, activity in the ventral striatum, the brain’s reward center, predicted how successful an advertisement would be, Temple’s Fox School of Business reports.

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