There has been an astonishing stream of innovations in retail, as well as in health care, financial services, and other consumer-oriented sectors. But are changes in consumer shopping behavior simply the inevitable response to innovation? Or are there other factors that help explain the seismic shifts in consumer behavior that have taken place?
What’s driving this trend?
Through extensive research, Michael Merzenich and other neuroscientists have observed that the human brain is incredibly plastic, even in adulthood, constantly adapting to shifts in our circumstances and experiences. Although the research originally described how brains adapt to trauma, scientists now believe that it has broader applications.
“We have learned that neuroplasticity is not only possible but that it is constantly in action,” writes Mark Hallett, head of the Medical Neurology Branch of the National Institutes of Health. “That is the way we adapt to changing conditions, the way we learn new facts, and the way we develop skills.” “Plasticity,” says Alvaro Pascual-Leone, a Harvard Medical School researcher, is “the normal ongoing state of the nervous system throughout the life span. Our brains are constantly changing in response to our experiences and our behavior, reworking their circuitry with each sensory input, motor act, association, reward signal, action plan, or [shift of] awareness.”