Footprints on your brain: OIG wants to do neuroscience research

BrainYou might think that the US Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General has enough on its plate, what with investigating employee crimes, auditing financial statements, etc., but it seems the OIG wants to branch out into “neuroscience research to understand the human response to and effectiveness of physical communications”.

Specifically, the OIG would like a contractor to:

Develop a neurophysiological study that illustrates the different human response to hard copy and digital advertising. Proposed methods may include, but are not limited to, traditional self-report, implicit testing, eye tracking, facial coding, core biometrics, EEG, and fMRI, or some combination thereof. The USPS OIG prefers a methodology that is rigorous and cost effective, but is open to discussion on the selection of methods.

The OIG apparently came up with the idea after reading a Royal Mail commissioned study that

… found that physical media left a “deeper footprint” in the brain than digital messages, even after controlling for the increase in sensory processing for tangible items. The study results seem to reveal that all other effects being equal, direct mail-based materials are more concrete and “real” for the brain, internalized more, facilitate emotional processing, and result in more fluent decision-making.

The OIG figures the USPS could

use this information in its ongoing efforts to assist its customers, including SMEs, through its “concierge services” pilot program and other outreach activities such as webinars and communication collateral to help create effective marketing strategies.

I’m sure they could! (Who knew the USPS had concierges?)

Understanding the Effectiveness of Physical Communications – Federal Business Opportunities: Opportunities.

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