#14 - Creating the store for shoppers’ brain

The brain is organized into territories, sort of like a map of Europe. There are visual regions, regions that process sound and areas that process sensory and motor information. In between all these areas is the area which is known to be the key for processing attention.
— Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 2010, Jeffery S. Anderson

The brain pays attention to visual, cognitive, sensory, and motor cues by switching attention from one feature to the next.

  • A shopper searching for a ripe tomato at the grocery store is more likely to notice apples, strawberries and other red fruits as well.
  • Paying attention to one direction of motion makes the brain more responsive to other objects moving in that direction.

First, shoppers’ brains pay attention to potentially threatening or potentially rewarding stimuli. Once the scan is done, shoppers open up for what’s interesting and new.

Men tend to have “laser” attention of a hunter, while women have wider and less focused attention of a gatherer.


Design the store and shelf with shopper’s brain in mind, with Her or His brain in mind. What works for female shoppers, might not work for guys. Focus on one main and 1-2 complimentary senses in each store section and aisle. Don't overwhelm the shopper, yet do not get them bored.