Desire and the Need for Sensory Stimulation: A Conceptual Account of Desire Intended to Challenge Common Sense in Academic Reseach and Disclose the Actual Drivers of Enthusiastic Consumer Behavior

Eduardo Giordani de Siqueira

Student thesis: Master thesis


Background: Human desire is a subject of not only great interest within academia but also of controversy, particularly because most of the discussions about it come from philosophical accounts unwarranted by data, whereas empirical researches that studied the matter in the context of consumer relations favored subjective methods of investigation that are prone to generate flawed findings and reinforce unreasonable popular beliefs, such as that strong desires are elicited by unaffordable objects – while neuroscience, otherwise, proved that high prices are avoided by consumers.
Research Method: Considering that traditional marketing approaches alone aren't able to fully comprehend consumer behavior and that a more accurate description of desire was required for correctly understanding its impact both in the human and economic level, this research proposed to scrutinize interdisciplinary content, particularly neuroscientific, aiming at overcoming methodological biases and ideological beliefs regarding the topic, for crafting a revised conceptual account of desire by challenging the basic assumptions of existing theories through problematization.
Conclusions: The analysis of the findings revealed that desires result from the animal need to experience varying forms of sensory stimulation; that the somatosensory cortex is paramount for the elicitation of desires, positive feelings and decisionmaking; that strong desires are preferentially triggered by the processing of novel stimuli by the somatosensory cortex and the dopaminergic system (and also by
thoughts that spontaneously come to mind); that desires involve bottom-up processing and also require deliberate thinking (thus, they aren't uncontrollable), and that desires aren’t inherently at the service of the capitalist system; rather, desires release humans from the deleterious state of boredom and are extremely necessary for the maintenance of humans' physical and psychological health.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages75