Madison Avenue and Your Brain

"Several decades into the era of consumer capitalism, the whiz kids on Madison Avenue have learned fairly well how to attach psychic puppet strings to our minds, but they have never really known why (or often whether) their tricks worked," writes Matthew Blakeslee. "Enter the age of neuroscience. As investigators plumb ever deeper into the strange dynamics of the brain, they are shedding new light on many domains of human behavior, including mental illness, violence, cooperation, addiction, eating and even aesthetics. ... The lines between manipulation, free choice and manufactured vs. true desire could turn out to lie quite differently from how they feel."