Seriously. I have been obsessing over this study every since it came out. Not just because I love Jen's classic 90's cut turned timeless trademark, either. The idea that a part of my brain is literally controlled by Jennifer Aniston should make me uncomfortable, but as a strategic communication professional-in-training it's mind-bogglingly exciting!
First let me flash you a picture.
According to this study by a UCLA professor a few years back, people have a neuron that lights up when it sees that hair, that face, that Jen. As the article describes, it is not just the actress on the whole that "sparks" your neuron but the "blue of her eyes" and "units of light, dark, color, shading, form." Also, your neuron isn't alone. It is powered by countless neurons below it. A lot of brain mumbo-jumbo that even after my neuroscience major roommate explained to me I still don't understand. The take away here is that your brain forms connections based on everything it has ever seen. Are your neurons as sparked as mine are right now?
I think the most fascinating implication of this study is that if branding occurs the way it should-- the way it did for Jennifer Aniston-- we could eventually develop neurons that activate when we see a particular cereal or clothing logo.
The public might see this as a Minority Report-esque scare...
Oh wait, I think the "Tom Cruise" part of my brain just lit up... or was it the "Gap" neuron?