Francis McGlone has extensive experience in the field of ‘i-translational neuroscience’ having worked as a research cognitive neuroscientist in both academia and industry. Many areas of industrial R&D, particularly in the FMCG sector, are unaware of the potential for applying knowledge of brain and behaviour in the design, development and deployment of their products. For example, an understanding of the sensory and multisensory properties of a product – its feel, smell, taste and appearance – or its ease of use when handling it are all properties that can be enhanced and optimised by knowing how the brain processes such information. The potential for a skin care product to cause irritation or sting for example can be quantified by knowing about skin neurobiology. Regional differences in skin sensitivity can be quantified using psychophysical techniques, often providing surprising insights into how heterogeneous the skin – to pleasant as well as unpleasant stimulation. The interactions between how a product looks, feels or smells cannot be understood by simply asking someone, as the way the brain extracts and integrates information from the senses is not accessible to verbal report. The sense of olfaction is of special interest as this sensory modality has a profound effect on many aspects of brain function – from memory to hedonics.
The emotional brain is more important to consumer interactions with products than the rational brain. Functionality is expected. Emotionality can be predicted. Emotions are difficult to measure with traditional consumer science methods as much of why we like/dislike the products we purchase is due to implicit processes in the brain – hidden from our conscious understanding. Knowing how these processes operate can lead to innovative product design, providing consumers with products they didn’t know they would like as many of the factors that lead to a product being liked (or disliked) are not accessible to conscious recall. The emotional brain can now be exposed, and although we have much more to learn about how it operates and influences our decisions and preferences, the tools available to modern neuroscience are helping to understand the ‘angel in the machine’.
Dr. McGlone has consulted on dozens of projects, applying his knowledge of brain and mind function, from scalp itch to the taste of tea, and clients are generally and genuinely surprised to find out just how much of what they didn’t know about the brain is immediately applicable to their business.
He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience Society, British Neuroscience Association, Applied Psychology Society, British Society of Clinical Neurophysiology, International Association for the Study of Pain, Human Brain Mapping, and the Business Consultancy Network.