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4 min read

Embracing Neural Diversity & Predicting Behavior

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People are weird. Whether you're a leader, a marketer, a branding guru, or a product developer, I'm certain you've encountered surprising individual quirks and marveled at people's choices - which often directly contradict their stated intentions. Differences in choices provide a window into the variety of human preferences and behaviors. Decision-making uses multiple regions of the brain with activity that shows substantial variation across individuals.

Understanding Neural Diversity

Neural diversity refers to the variations in brain function and structure among individuals. These variations are influenced by genetics, the environment, developmental history, and moment-to-moment changes in brain chemistry. Understanding neural diversity is crucial for appreciating the full range of human behavior and for developing methods to predict such behavior accurately.

Predicting Behavior despite variability

Given this extensive neural diversity, how is it possible for Immersion to accurately forecast human behaviors? Predicting behavior with such variability might seem daunting, but Immersion leverages advanced scientific techniques to decode the complexities of the human brain. By combining multiple measures of neural activity and focusing on what the brain values, Immersion consistently predicts market outcomes with 90% or greater accuracy.

The Science Behind Accurate Behavior Prediction

Immersion employs two primary strategies to navigate the complexities of neural diversity and predict human behavior.

1. Utilizing Multiple Measures of Neural Activity

First, predictive accuracy is maximized by using multiple measures of neural activity. Groundbreaking research by Immersion's co-founder, Dr. Paul Zak, and his lab simultaneously measured 9 physiologic variables and collected 15 types of psychological data while participants made decisions. These measures were put into a "statistical sieve" to see which combination of factors was strongly statistically associated with 10 different types of decisions. By setting a high threshold for statistical significance (called robustness in statistics), many false positives were eliminated, highlighting the factors that truly matter.

The physiological variables provide a window into the brain's responses to stimuli. The data encompass a wide range of cognitive and emotional factors, such as attention, memory, and motivation. By measuring these variables in real-time, Immersion captures the dynamic interplay between physiological states and decision-making.

2. Measuring What the Brain Values

The second way to accurately predict behavior is to measure what is valued in real-time by the brain. What is valued is what is remembered and acted upon. Immersion measures what the brain values second by second and does this by combining multiple neural measures into an overall response we named 'Immersion'. Immersion combines multiple neural data streams to enhance predictive accuracy for both individual decisions and aggregate outcomes.

Today, Immersion captures these data from smartwatches and fitness sensors using proprietary algorithms developed from 20+ years of research. The result is consistently accurate predictions of behavior and market outcomes. 

Insights from Recent Research

My recently published research revealed several key findings about behavior prediction:

1. Physiological Stress and Cooperation

Multiple measures of physiological stress were found to decrease cooperative behaviors. Additionally, testosterone consistently increased antisocial behaviors. The research focused on how these factors should most effectively be measured physiologically. For example, Immersion's proprietary and real-time measure of stress, which we call Psychological Safety, is an effective tool for understanding and improving team productivity by identifying and addressing factors that inhibit cooperation.

Stress is a natural response to challenges and can be beneficial in moderate amounts, as detailed in our blog 'Emotional Hormesis - Why Stress Is Often Beneficial'. However, excessive stress can impair cognitive function and hinder cooperation. Immersion's measure of Psychological Safety captures the level of stress experienced by individuals in real-time, allowing for timely interventions to promote cooperation. These data show you exactly what to correct to improve productivity.

2. Cognitive Abilities and Delayed Gratification

Our recently published research also showed that individuals with higher cognitive abilities were more likely to delay gratification for larger, later rewards; however, these people were also less cooperative in other tasks. This highlights the nuanced relationship between cognitive function and decision-making behaviors.

3. Personality Traits and Social Behavior

This research also showed that individuals with the personality trait of openness were less generous towards strangers, whereas those with high neuroticism were more helpful to others. These insights are crucial for understanding how personality traits influence social behaviors.

Openness to experience is a personality trait characterized by curiosity, creativity, and a willingness to explore new ideas. While openness is often associated with positive outcomes, such as innovation and adaptability, this research indicates that it may also diminish prosocial behaviors.

Neuroticism is a personality trait associated with emotional sensitivity and a tendency to experience negative emotions. Interestingly, this research found that individuals high in neuroticism were more likely to be helpful to others. This counterintuitive finding highlights the complexity of human behavior and suggests that emotional sensitivity may drive greater empathy and willingness to assist others.

Practical Applications of Immersion

For businesses and researchers seeking to predict market behaviors accurately, measuring as few as 35 people using the Immersion platform can provide reliable answers. By combining multiple measures into a single, normalized predictive measure (ranging from 0 to 100), Immersion offers a powerful, easy-to-use neuroscience tool that can be deployed anytime, anywhere.

Marketing and Consumer Insights

In the fast-paced world of marketing and content creation, understanding consumer behavior is crucial for designing effective campaigns. Immersion provides marketers with real-time insights into consumer reactions, allowing for rapid adjustments and optimization. Our output predicts behavior and meaningful market outcomes with over 90% accuracy.

Enhancing Workplace Productivity

Immersion's ability to measure psychological safety and stress levels in real-time makes it an invaluable tool for enhancing workplace productivity. By identifying the factors that impede cooperation and collaboration, organizations can implement targeted interventions to create a more supportive and productive work environment. Further, Immersion's new emotional fitness app, Tuesday, is a tool busy professionals and leaders can use to measure and maintain their emotional well-being and ensure they sustain a safe and productive culture. 

Educational Applications

In education, engaging students and fostering effective learning are top priorities. Tuesday can be used to measure student engagement and identify the factors that enhance or hinder learning. By measuring students' real-time responses to content, educators can tailor their teaching methods to better meet the needs of students and can know when a topic may need additional instruction or follow-up. 


Embracing neural diversity and understanding its impact on behavior is essential for accurately predicting behavior. Immersion's innovative approach, grounded in robust scientific research, provides unparalleled insights into human decision-making. Harness the power of neuroscience on the go today by clicking here to start your journey with Immersion.

Embrace neural diversity, predict behavior, and unlock the potential of your team and market with Immersion. By understanding and leveraging the complexities of neural diversity, you can make informed decisions that drive success in both the personal and professional spheres. Whether you're a marketer, educator, researcher, or business leader, Immersion offers the tools and insights you need to navigate the intricate landscape of human behavior to achieve your goals.

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