We are but creatures of our senses

Whilst travelling with luggage on buses in India, people prefer to stash their luggage at an overhead open storage compartment. Though I've seen buses equipped with storage space below the seats, people prefer to put their stuff at a place where they can keep an eye on it. In fact, taking a peek at their overhead luggage at times is reassuring. After all you can't be slack on an Indian bus. You wouldn't know when the damn suitcase is gonna disappear.

As people we are at our calmest best when our senses take in stimuli we seek. We are okay if we can see the luggage. Out of sight is disconcerting. Its the same for us at home. When Jaden wanders away into another room, we're okay if we can hear him. Its our way of knowing he's all right. If we can't hear him for some time, we call out and wait for his response.

Depriving our senses of stimuli is disturbing, at times even nerve wracking. That's why solitary confinement is worse than simple confinement as a punishment. Because solitary means our senses are numbed by a lack of stimuli. The best of torture techniques aren't ones that overload our senses to make us feel the pain, they are ones that deprive our senses to turn us senile. Because senses that face a vacuum eat into our psychological health.

Keeping a consumer's five senses at work is a great way of giving him an environment that's conducive to purchase. Of course, it can't be a stimuli overload that turns irritating. For example, music's a good idea in a restaurant. But it has to be carefully chosen and played at soothing volumes. Push the music and it can be jarring. On the other hand, soothing gets you nowhere in psychedelic bar. The kind that frequent such places need a tempo and volume that would have the rest of us go bonkers.

Marketers who titillate all our senses stand a better chance at getting us as consumers. For we are but creatures driven by our senses. Therefore vulnerable, and willing to follow marketer cues.

Lambs to slaughter?


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