A Reflection on my Science Communications Internship

During my time as a scientific communications intern at HCD Research, I was exposed to a new subdiscipline in my desired career. The internship helped me realize that neuroscience can have a critical role in marketing. When marketing a product or service, it can be really important to do research on the target audience through tools like surveys or biometric technology. Being introduced to interesting components of a discipline, such as applied consumer neuroscience, cannot be overestimated. The research conducted in this particular area serves an important function: to improve the lives of consumers by bettering products, packaging, and communications. Learning about this specific area of research was quite useful for my future endeavors in a career in neuroscience.

I am thankful that the internship broadcast the idea that a successful venture in any field is helped through an interdisciplinary approach. Just as there are many parts to a machine, today’s field of neuroscience includes an array of specialties, all contributing to advancements in the field. I learned important skills, such as adaptability, responsibility, time management, problem-solving, and networking, and discovered just how diligent I need to be to stay updated in such an ever-progressing field.

Proper research focuses on the question at hand and benefits by being well-rounded. Considering the context of research by exploring the public’s opinions and attitudes, as well as the populaces’ fears and desires, can be really important for understanding the whole story. Neuroscience is not just neurons in the brain but ways people behave and respond to the world around them. Through blog-writing, I began to understand how necessary critical thinking skills and creativity are in application to modern problems. We first must address a topic or problem from an objective standpoint, then ponder how market research can step in to propose products or services relevant to the ever-changing customer. I explored the fight-or-flight response and the pandemic-changed society, and researched ways both of these areas are relevant in the marketing world. For both topics, market researchers need to ensure that their stimuli properly communicate the intended message, later improving the stimuli to meet consumer expectations and stay relevant to the ever-changing customer. Research into both blogs tied into the overarching idea that tools from neuroscience can greatly influence market research insights.

I participated in many discussions, the first being a Mindset episode where the importance of consumer research in the complex, novel topic of CBD was emphasized. I also attended a webinar where neuro-driven metrics and predictive norms in the media space were covered.  I ended my internship with a presentation of the application of voice analysis, a biometrics program which allows users to analyze recordings or conversations to identify the emotion and intent of consumers, in marketing. My presentation reviews on how tone analyzer detects audio patterns for stress, tempo, pitch, and rhythm. I then looked into the market research application of how voice analysis may help explain consumer reactions. While researching this topic, it helped me consider not only the benefits, but also the limitations of voice analysis. Being aware of the limitations is a very important aspect of research, which was highlighted during this internship. All of these exercises helped me realize how well neuroscience and marketing complement one another—reliability and validity are undoubtedly the most important qualities in research, no matter the application, and many research strategies can be improved through collaborative studies.