Marketers Know About the Lizard Brain. Do you?

A quick poll before we begin.

What is the first thing you do when you try to persuade others to do something? Intuition tells most of us to line up a set of facts and figures that make a logical appeal to our audience. After all, once people have the facts, the choice will be easy and obvious. Right?

The challenge with intuition is that sometimes it is wrong. Let me explain.

Humans have two types of thinking:

  1. Conscious / logical
  2. Subconscious / emotional

Our conscious mind is slow, rational and deliberative. It is the part of our thinking that we use for analysis, reasoning and deliberate thought.

In contrast, our subconscious mind is insanely fast, reflexive and automatic. Besides autonomous systems like breathing, etc. our subconscious brain also handles things like our survival and emotions. It is what we have used for millennia to assess and react to threatening situations. This type of thought is dominant and happens without us even being aware of it.

For most people, it is surprising to learn that the subconscious mind controls 95% to 99% of human behavior.  TWEET THIS!

It is important to note that our logical mind is not in control of our actions. And logic is not what persuades others.

Most marketers know this while most people in training and learning development don’t. This is how I illustrate the difference.

What are those marketing people doing that we aren’t? They’re talking to our subconscious “lizard brain”! Because of that, they are MUCH better at getting people’s attention and helping them think and act in new ways.

Got questions? Hit me with your best shot in the comments below.

Tune in next time, when we take a deeper dive into some of the marketing tactics and tools that we should be stealing to use in our learning programs.


PS – Why “Lizard Brain”? Because it is the part of the brain (brain stem and limbic system) that has evolved with us over the millennia. Whereas, the logical part of our brain (neocortex) is still a relative newbie – it is only about 30,000 years old.

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”

― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

Published by Mike Taylor

Born with a life-long passion for learning, I have the great fortune to work at the intersection of learning, design, technology & collaboration.

3 thoughts on “Marketers Know About the Lizard Brain. Do you?

  1. I was wonder if you’re familiar with (which is a free website depending on whether your local library grants you access) for learning mostly technology based courses. I just wanted to let you know in case you wanted to check it out and out it for your collection of sites to follow.


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