CXL’s Digital Psychology and Persuasion Minidegree review [part-6]

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

Hi, well yesterday was and with that end of this year is coming near. I am personally waiting for and because 2020 was not gone as per our expectations (at least not mine).

But, 2020 is not the only thing that I am upset about, my focus on this minidegree is also not quite right, and after 6 weeks of trying I am still behind my target. So, this makes me feel bad, I mean really bad.

Moving on to today's topic. So, today I am going to talk about Emotional Chemistry & Marketing. Emotional chemistry basically means the chemical reactions that controls our emotions and how they effect our decisions and understandings.

If you are aware of these chemicals, you are going to love this, but if you don’t know anything about it, that’s totally okay. Because as a marketer you may not be aware of concepts of brain or psychology might not be your specialization, and this article will definitely going to help you.

I am planning to cover only Marketing aspects of Consumers emotional chemistry, so we can fully focus on how to make use of chemicals that our brain heavily use to control it’s functioning.

The chemicals I am talking about, almost all of them are known as because they help in passing of information between neurons and other cells and also they helps in interpretation of those signals.

Today I am going to discuss 4 such Neurotransmitters as follows:

  1. Dopamine
  2. Cortisol
  3. Oxytocin
  4. Serotonin

I am going to discuss these neurotransmitters with respect to marketing, their roles in a users journey and how they help a user in interpreting the information from the cues we put in our marketing efforts. Also, going to share some information on and how we can prevent them.

But, first let’s discuss some basics:

  • Our brain is made up of nerve cells called as
  • A brain contains approximately 86 billion neurons.
  • These neurons are responsible for our movements and thoughts.
  • Neurons needs to communicate with each other for proper functioning of brain.
  • Neurons communicates with each other with the help of electric and chemical signals.
  • The process of communication between neurons is called as .
  • During the process of communication neurons releases molecules which are know as neurotransmitters.
  • These neurotransmitters are chemicals, some of which we are going to learn about.
  • These chemicals or neurotransmitters carry messages for other neurons.
  • These messages make us feel sad or excited or sleepy or attentive or hungry or make us move our hand etc based on the type of chemical neuron releases and the message it carries.

Next, we are going to learn about 4 dominating chemicals that controls the emotion of a person and how it can relate to marketing.


It is known as the neurotransmitter because it contributes to the feeling of satisfaction and pleasure. It’s a major part of the of our brain.

Dopamine guide us in repeating the actions or activities that gives us sense of pleasure and satisfaction, like repeatedly visiting favorite social media platforms or craving for our favorite food.

These activities are autonomous and we unconsciously keeps repeating them. In marketing we can easily take benefit of this reward system if we tap the right emotion at right time.

But, first let me tell you how to trigger it and its emotional and behavioral impacts.

How to trigger Dopamine & it’s impact?

Dopamine is directly related to our survival instinct and when we perceive anything that promotes our survival, our brain release dopamine. Remember that dopamine is a pleasure giving neurotransmitter. So, when we see something pleasurable like discounts on our favorite brands, or free offers, or new items in menu of our favorite eating place, our brain release dopamine.

The emotional and behavioral impacts of dopamine includes pleasure, curiosity, interest, anticipation, excitement, pursuing goals for some rewards etc.

Some Examples of taking advantage of Dopamine in Marketing

  • Creating a contest like raffle to target brains reward system
  • Using principles of gamification like achievements or some point system which can be used for claiming rewards, to improve engagement and targeting brains reward system.

: If you are targeting dopamine system of your user with some offer that is too familiar or too different for your user they might backfire, in familiar case they might face Marketing fatigue, which diminishes the effect of the offer over time and in case of different, they might not fully understand your offer or they fail to recognize it as a reward. Try offering something new and original but related.


It is known as the of our body. Our body releases cortisol when we perceive some survival threat. It helps us in raising our awareness and attention on something.

How to trigger Cortisol & it’s impact?

We can trigger cortisol by introducing some situation that make us perceive any internal or external threat.

The emotional and behavioral impacts of cortisol includes stress, alertness, anxiety, grabbing our attention, drive us to work on the removal of pain or threat, etc

Some Examples of cortisol in action

It activates when a users expectations doesn’t met. For example when user encounter error / broken pages, unfriendly navigation, confusing labels / buttons. In simple words, when user encounter ambiguous messaging or unintuitive design, they tend to get stressed because of unwanted cognitive load.

But, cortisol is not all about stress and anxiety. We can also use cortisol in our advantage. For example, it can be use for some ortactics, where we can target users with a little (FOMO). Here I want to make one thing clear that we don’t want to stress them out, but, just trying to give them a little nudge in the right direction so they feel the pressure of missing out on great deal or chance.

: Prolonged stress can lower the concentration levels and lead to frustration, anxiety and mental health issues. This can directly impact your marketing efforts as users also tries to get out of stress as a natural response. Try not to put much stress on the user and where possible grab attention with stress but positively.


It is known as the love hormone. Some experts even named it as "the tend and befriend hormone". It is one of the most important hormone our body produces because it helps in building social bonds and relationships.

How to trigger Oxytocin & it’s impact:

It can be triggered by doing personalized interaction, like talking to the user directly. It can also be triggered by making a bond with the user. Develop content in such a way that it directly talk to your users.

Emotional and behavioral impact of oxytocin includes feeling trust, connected, jealous, territorial, possessive, loyalty behavior etc

The pain of oxytocin is felt physically and may trigger jealousy and pain of social loss. So always try to play safe while triggering oxytocin. Don’t let your user with some open options on feeling, make sure your message is delivered unchanged and also try very hard in building bond / relationship with the user on positive grounds like they should remember you as a source of some positive change, avoid negative feelings in the play.


It is again an important chemical produced by our body and it helps in managing mood, Learning, memory, recognizing rewards, many other psychological as well as physical functions.

How to trigger Serotonin and it’s impact:

It can be triggered with any of the following events: Realizing superiority, obtaining recognition, achieving some status, moving up on social ladder. In simple words, it gets triggered whenever we feel proud on something (some achievement) about us.

Emotional and behavioral impact of Serotonin includes feeling of importance or proud, safe, secure, empowered, sometimes envious, it initiate status seeking behavior, risk aversion, loyalty to social structures like tradition etc.

: Social comparison is moderated by the serotonin system and with low status or status degradation projection it can lead user to anxiety, lower self worth and finally to depression. Try projecting only positive comparisons where you show your users the positive sides of the actions and not give them cue on negative impacts of not performing the action. Be very careful if you want to try the negative comparison, know your limits.

With this I am ending today’s post, I hope someone will find it helpful. This is just an introduction to these four Neurotransmitters our body produce for controlling it’s functionality. There are hundreds of such chemicals, some do very special / specific jobs and some are crucial for our daily working.

Thanks for reading till end, have a great day. ☺

A marketer who can code. I like writing mostly about web dev, marketing, psychology and reviewing courses & tools. My opinions are my own w/o any affiliation.