Influencers Week: What Do a Scientist, an Economist, and Your Emotions Have in Common?

Living without emotions.

When you go through your day to day life, you probably don’t consider how you feel in every single moment. But what if you were not able to process emotions? For the last twenty-five years, a neuroscientist and professor at the University of Southern California named Antonio Damasio has been studying the human brain, consciousness, and the effect emotions play in human decision making. Damasio wrote a book called Descartes Error which set out to prove that Descartes, so famously known for saying “I think, therefore I am”, was wrong. Damasio postulated that we feel therefore we are.


Your brain is wired a certain way.

Damasio has spent the majority of his career studying people who had sustained injuries to the part of the brain that regulates emotions. As you would expect these people's’ lives fell apart, but not for the reason you would think.  Damasio found that they couldn’t plan for their futures, make decisions at work, or even make the simplest of choices like what to eat or what to wear that day.  They were no longer able to sense how they felt, and they were paralyzed in their daily lives by not being able to make decisions.  

Similarly, Richard Thaler, who won the Nobel Prize this year for Economics, has been quoted as saying that Economics assumes that people are super-rational and almost clinical in their decision making. Thaler has found in his extensive research that people hardly ever make rational decisions as to how they spend their money. Most of the time, they make purchases based on their gut feelings and instincts. When he accepted the Nobel Prize and was asked how he would spend the award money, he said jokingly, “as irrationally as possible.”

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What does that have to do with a videography company?

Last week, we began the journey of dissecting the effect emotions have on the decision making process. Today we will spotlight our favorite authorities on the topic. At Rooted Content we realize that there are many ways to use video marketing to a myriad of different ends. We choose to make videos with purpose because we believe that tapping into people’s emotions is the most effective way to elicit a response. Or, more simply put: you can have the most impressive product in the world, but no one will buy it if they don’t like you.

In his book Blink, popular theorist and journalist Malcolm Gladwell talks about how most people spend too much time trying to sort through the facts, when they should just trust their intuition. Intuition, he says, can sometimes be more correct than all the rational thought. Damasio has a similar opinion in his aforementioned book, Descartes Error. He talks about the concept of Somatic Marker Hypothesis. In simple terms, the Somatic Marker Hypothesis means that we associate certain situations with certain emotions, which lead us to conclusions faster via intuition than by assessing them through all of our other senses.


You depend on your feelings more than you think.

If a situation gives you a feeling similar to a past experience, you may expect a similar outcome to that previous situation. For example if you see a photo of a kitten, and you had a cat as a child that you loved and made you feel safe, that photo will also bring feelings of love and safety. The trick is, as Damasio points out, the better we are at knowing our emotional responses, the more in-depth our intuition becomes.

In addition to this, Thaler points out that human beings are not robots. We do not assess our surroundings with cold, rational detail. Quite the opposite, we assess our surroundings by how they make us feel. So, you may have bought that rain jacket because you needed it, but did you get the cheapest one, or the one that best suited the color of your eyes? We should note here, out of fairness, that Thaler does make a solid point that making only irrational and emotional financial decisions can be economically detrimental.

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We want our videos to convey emotions to their viewers.

This reflects Rooted Content’s philosophy as a company. When you are appealing to your audience, you do not want to solely give them your rational argument and then say, “choose the logical choice.” You want to hold their attention and grab their emotions by using what we now know about how the human brain works and how we naturally make decisions.  It is important to remember that in order to win your audience over you have to give them a reason to care, and once you have their attention and heart you can help them rationalize their emotional decisions with your arguments on why you’re the best.   

When Damasio began his research he began with patients who literally couldn’t make decisions because they had no emotional base to draw from. At Rooted we make every decision before, during, and after being on set with your intended viewer’s emotional response in mind. When communicating your company’s goals we want to show the viewer places to connect with your brand’s specific voice and story. By offering points of connection you invite the viewer into your story. Once you have their undivided attention you can then present them the facts and data necessary to show them that there isn’t a better brand or company for them to use than you.

We pride ourselves on producing top of the line content for our clients. Call or click today to connect with us about the ways we can help you start telling your story.