Can a subconscious predict the future

The subconscious and the consequences

Our subconscious and the consequences Credit: iStock / wildpixel

How our perception deceives us, our emotions drive us and our will is only "our" will to a very limited extent.

Dr. Hans Georg Häusel has long been concerned with the connections between neurology, neuromarketing and sales psychology. He describes his way through the depths and shallows of the human brain in highly entertaining journeys and is in great demand as a consultant and speaker. As a brain researcher, he shows how decisions are really made in the brain.

Largely unconscious and always emotional. This knowledge is noticeably changing our view of ourselves and the world and sheds new light on paradigms we believe to be self-evident. About the subconscious, perception, our emotions and our supposed free will.

CONCENTRATE 2011 | Dr. Hans Georg Haeusel, Neuromarketing Expert / Credit: Dr Georg Haeusel

In the area of ​​marketing and sales, he reveals where the many small, unconscious purchase buttons are, what distinguishes customers and how you can seduce customers and win them over. He does not differentiate between consumer goods, retail, banks and service providers or B2B technology companies. For the management area, he shows how motivation and leadership really work from the point of view of the brain and what makes companies successful.

The power of the subconscious, free will, emotions and supposedly well-considered decisions are his favorite topics. The new dimensions that are opened up to you in conversation are almost limitless and sometimes more than surprising. Our consciousness is never designed to evaluate and process all the information that is pouring down on us.

We filter the daily flood of information according to meaning and importance for our own life or that of our loved ones. We are mostly convinced of ourselves, our perception and our freedom of choice. Prof. Häusel corrects this picture and explains how our emotional systems manage our decisions.

In his captivating lectures he reaches all listeners equally with a lot of humor and a pleasant style. In the KOPFSACHE interview, he reveals knowledge from his books, analyzes the supposed free will and explains how emotionally our decision-making processes actually run.

CONCENTRATE 2011 | Dr. Hans Georg Haeusel, Neuromarketing Expert / Credit: Dr. Hans Georg Haeusel

Think Limbic! - Understanding and using the power of the unconscious is the title of a book by you. What kind of power are you talking about?

Brain research has resulted in two major changes in our self-image over the past 15 years. This is what is described in this book. First, there is much more going on in the unconscious than we even remotely believe. Second, the real rulers in our head are emotions and these two I summarize as the power of the unconscious. The processing and evaluation of emotions are largely unconscious. We get the result played into our consciousness, but what is going on beforehand and, above all, how it is going, we only have a very small insight.

Is there a percentage estimate of how much happens consciously and how much happens unconsciously?

There are some discussions along those lines. Some fellow neuroscientists go up to 95 percent unconsciously. I would see the unconscious at 70 to 80 percent. Our decisions are definitely made through unconscious mechanisms. 20-30 percent take place consciously, although it must also be said here that these 20-30 percent are not as free as we believe, but also move within the framework of our emotion programs.

We humans still assume a free will. When I listen to your stories like that, I have great doubts about this thought !?

Rightly so! Rightly so! Is there free will, is also a hot question in philosophy, which has been discussed a lot in recent years and which has caused disillusionment. Ultimately, the question is undecided. That means, of course, that there are philosophers who say there is free will. But then there are also philosophers, especially with a neuroscientific background, who are of the opinion that free will is very limited. At the very end it is a draw.

One thing is clear, however: just as we believe that we can freely decide everything as we want, we can forget that. The spirits argue about whether we still have a little bit of freedom of choice at the very end and they will certainly continue to argue over the next decade.

So we are integrated into systems and these systems influence our supposed free will, if I understand that correctly !? Does free will look different in e.g. Mali than free will in Central Europe?

Exactly, those are the real problems. At the lowest level, it's our biological perception. We perceive the world in a certain structure that is already given to us. We do not perceive the world objectively, but from a point of view that works for us humans. The emotion programs and many other programs in our brain - why do you find a woman beautiful or something like that - is another level of our perception.

The next level that you just mentioned is very important - our cultural bondage. That means we always move within a cultural radius without noticing it and observe the rules without thinking about it. We only notice this when we come into foreign cultures and offend there. The next level of our emotional systems is the social context in which we are constantly moving, which we do not question.

Our individual experiences that we have. Our own personalities, the emotional systems in the brain, and we are still influenced by many situational things without us noticing. If you are in a group and everyone is screaming: We're going to A, then you will say, yes, OK, we're going to A. There are many other influences and all of these together make up a huge part of the unconscious and we question none of that. In addition, our conscious thinking is not as efficient as we think it is. It creates 60 bits per second, whereas our unconscious mind creates 11 million bits.

That is indescribable !?

Yes exactly.

CONCENTRATE 2011 | Dr. Hans Georg Haeusel, Neuromarketing Expert Credit: Dr Georg Haeusel

Do you assume that the subconscious information that is pouring down on me is stored somewhere in my head?

No, no I don't think so. There is certainly a filtering process, but some things are also recorded on the side. Of course, taking in information always costs energy. Our brain is an energetic piggy bank. It actually tries to achieve maximum output and efficiency with little energy.

Which unconscious means of control are used in marketing and advertising to convince the consumer of a product?

There are thousands of possibilities when looking at the entire sales process that can influence the buying decision. So there isn't a buy button that always works. There is no “buy” button, but marketing today means changing the decision with a thousand small things. It starts with the taste of a product through flavor enhancers. That goes on, how a battery is designed !? What does the advertising bring?

The next level is the supermarket, how is it on the shelf etc ... How is it discussed on social media are all things that matter these days. In principle, it is always about getting into the brain quickly, making it as easy as possible for the brain and achieving a maximum of emotion with every contact with the product.

How and to what extent do the unconscious programs in our brain influence our processes?

They are influenced everywhere. Before breakfast they go to the bathroom once. Inside there is a certain basic logic to how it is organized. Then they turn up the radio because their curiosity system answers. You are driving on the country road and overtaking a slower driver - warm greetings from your dominance system.

They get angry because someone is standing in their parking lot. Greetings from the dominance system - someone has broken into your territory. If they work through their entire day, you have thousands of influences acting on you. Assuming you are a manager and decide - we will do it or we will not - depending on what influences around you have shaped your mood.

CONCENTRATE 2011 | Dr. Hans Georg Haeusel, Neuromarketing Expert / Credit: Dr. Georg Haeusel

What is the most significant news from brain research about how our brains function?

There is nothing revolutionary right now. Our brains are so complex that there are a thousand different directions of research that deal with the smallest details. There are always small advances that slowly trickle away. The last quantum leaps were the rediscovery of the unconscious or the supremacy of the emotional systems. Those were the last big realizations. The really sensational quantum leaps are rather rare, to be honest. But that's like any other science, I would say.

One of her specialties is the neurology of money: How financial decisions are really made in the brain - how do our financial decisions work and what benefits can we derive from this knowledge?

One has to think first, what is money for our brains? Money is nothing more than generalized pleasure in your pocket, combined with an option for the future. In principle, you can use money to pay into all emotional systems, especially the positive ones. You go on vacation - your curiosity system is cheering. You buy a new sports car - your dominance system is celebrating.

They top up their life insurance - their security system cheers and so on and immediately. What you also know from brain research is that when I give them money, their reward center is active. When I take money from them, their pain center is active. The neurology of money has more aspects. Risk behavior and the basis for decision-making on the one hand. On the other hand, the investment decisions, what emotional structures are behind these decisions !?

The third level is the limitation in our cerebrum. We have many small flaws in the brain that keep pushing us to make wrong decisions. So it is a broad area that neurology deals with.

What little mistakes would that be?

Well, one of the biggest mistakes is probably that we cannot predict the future. (... laughs) That means the world is so complex that we cannot grasp the totality of all its effects. How many scientists told us in 2007 that there would be a financial crash? About 0.2 percent! How many scientists explained to us in 2009 that there had to be a crash. About 99 percent! Some information is overweighted by the brain, some underweighted. That's the cognitive side of neurology. The emotional side of neurology is our emotional systems, which are responsible for how we handle money.

Does seduction of the spirit also have ethical limits for you?

You have to get a little philosophical now. It is of course the case that advertising is manipulated. But manipulation is something that pervades our everyday life, so we didn't have to wait for the advertisement. That means every woman who puts on make-up in the morning already manipulates. Every pastor who bloodthirstily paints the devil on the wall from the pulpit manipulates and to a considerable extent. This means that manipulation is always part of our communication because we want to achieve something with the other, consciously or unconsciously.

In philosophy, however, there are clear limits. With Kant it is said, for example: Never use the other as a means, always as an end. Say if the other has not consented that you manipulate him, then you are not allowed to either. That would be the Kantian logic. Plato said: manipulation is part of our lives, also in politics. He said manipulation would be reprehensible if it harms the other. Nitsche said that if you bring the other person a different and exciting life and you empower them, you can manipulate them too.

Personally, I consider manipulation to be reprehensible if I knowingly harm the other person with it, then the limit has been reached. For example, if I encourage thirteen to fourteen year olds to smoke or drink alcohol, I've crossed the line a long time ago.
Which absolute no-go's in advertising should companies avoid?
The questions of which products and which target groups should be excluded are already being decided by ethics committees. Classic no-go's would also be to undermine political correctness and make jokes about minorities, etc ...

What role do emotions play and how do you teach them to stimulate?

At the beginning you have to clarify very briefly what actually are emotions !? Most people confuse emotions with feelings. That would be like calling a steering wheel a car. So emotions are more than just feelings. Driving forces that set us goals and move us in a certain direction. Emotions are much more powerful than feelings.

Emotions are not the opposite of rationality either. I act rationally when I manage to use the guidelines from my emotional systems with a good outcome in the possibilities and opportunities of my environment.


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