18 September 2012

Those Baffling Boomer Brains

This post could be tucked in The Déjà Vu News or No News News gatherings.  But I’ll give it it’s own page so we can poke around:

Inside the Brain of a Boomer: Cash-Rich Demo Does Poorly With Visual Complexity
by Jack Neff, Advertising Age
http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/img/nw09.gifThe neuroscientists at Nielsen Neurofocus, having strapped EEG-tracking caps on thousands of people over the years, have good and bad news for marketers about the brains of baby boomers.

Not really news:

03 March 2010
Aging Brain Less Quick, More Shrewd
… For baby-boomers, there is both good news and bad news about the cognitive health of the aging brain.

NPR interview with Dr. Gary Small:

More from the Ad Age/Nielsen piece:

As boomers age, some neural decline will be inevitable, and they’ll find it harder to handle visual or verbal complexity.

I interpret this a bit differently.  From my book, © 2005:


imageI also talk about busy websites in a very long online presentation produced in 2007.  If you have nothing better to do…

Advertising to Baby Boomers: Ads and Web Sites

A few years later a fascinating book was released dealing with many of these themes:

3 January 2010
2010: The Year of The Baby Boomer Brain
The brain, as it traverses middle age, gets better at recognizing the central idea, the big picture. If kept in good shape, the brain can continue to build pathways that help its owner recognize patterns and, as a consequence, see significance and even solutions much faster than a young person can.

16 April 2010
The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain

Ad Age/Nielsen:

Among cognitive pluses that come with age…are more “emotional resilience” and a tendency to “not sweat the small stuff”…So they’re less likely to fall for alarming messages…

Sounds familiar.  From my book:

… A similar campaign today, using vague, anxiety-ridden scare tactics, might not work for Baby Boomers. We’re too smart (or perhaps too jaded) to be fooled by hackneyed situations and simplistic answers…

imageRemember this: An easy-to-grip handle is not dumbing down.  A ‘big picture’ is not dumbing down.  If anything, a big picture has more inherent complexity and meaning than an array of blinking doodads.

The Human Resources/Brain Power Posts