Immersion is a neurological state of attention and emotional resonance that predicts what people will do after an experience, often with 80 percent or greater accuracy. We identified it by comparing neural activity in people who took an action after an experience versus those who did not.

Participants viewed a video about “Big” Ben Bowen, who suffered from an aggressive brain tumor at age two and was featured in a fundraising campaign from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As participants watched Bowen’s story, we measured attention and emotional responses using brain activity as measured by electroencephalography (EEG) as well as multiple signals from the peripheral nervous system. We also drew blood from participants before and after they viewed the video to measure changes in oxytocin, cortisol, and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). One-half of the hundreds of people who viewed the video donated money to St. Jude. Our...

Read the full story.

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?