BERKELEY, California – As the global coronavirus pandemic spreads, one of the major challenges that governments, public health institutions, businesses, and the public face is how to communicate most effectively about actions to take regarding the disease.
Applying artificial intelligence and machine learning systems, combined with advanced neuroscience knowledge, leading AI company machineVantage has identified a highly effective communication model to address the international health crisis. The firm specializes in extracting metaphors that connect deeply with the non-conscious mind, which is where over 95 percent of daily decisions are made.
“Neuroscience teaches us that metaphors are the ‘language of the non-conscious mind’, and they represent a very powerful method of communicating critical information,” said Dr A. K. Pradeep, founder and chief executive officer of machineVantage. “They are essentially a form of ‘shorthand’ for the brain, which assigns a high priority to this form of information. By applying customized AI-powered algorithms, accessing a vast library of existing metaphors, and relying on neuroscientific learnings, we are able to extract the most meaningful and impactful new metaphor to use in addressing the coronavirus crisis.”
“That metaphor is ‘Health connects to Gateways,” Dr Pradeep said. “We rank metaphors in four levels, and our AI systems isolated this Gateway metaphor as ‘Emergent’—meaning it is gaining importance in the non-conscious mind. We wish to make this finding universally available as a means of doing our part to help in the struggle against this disease by facilitating better communication to the public.”
Dr Pradeep explained that the non-conscious mind connects health and gateways in many ways. Two primary ways are concepts embedded in the Gateway Metaphor:
- Health is a Gateway – to a better life and to things that matter
- Gateways to Health – passageways that enable health, and preserve being healthy.
Both are activated in the scenario that the destruction of our Health closes gateways to a better future, and Gateways need to be closed to help us be healthy and remain healthy in the presence of the COVID-19 virus.
Gateways are typically perceived as physical structures, such as doors, iron gates, or bridges. In the non-conscious mind, Gateways are conceptualized as metaphoric portals, allowing or preventing access. A virus such as COVID-19 as an enemy activates the Gateway Metaphor in the non-conscious mind.
Dr Pradeep identified six key messaging concepts that the Gateway Metaphor prompts:
- let us lock the gates – closing down cities and borders is now acceptable
- let us be protected inside by not leaving the gates – restrictions on travel are now acceptable
- let people knock on the gates – testing everyone that comes through is now expected
- gates may be closed for awhile – storing all necessary supplies is now accepted
- the wait inside may be stressful – finding ways to stay occupied and spend the time positively inside the gateway is now accepted
- gates must be strong and rebuilt – having policy makers and public health officials consistently re-evaluate and reform measures and procedures is now accepted and expected
“Understanding how the non-conscious mind processes and responds to Coronavirus-related information through the lens of this Gateway Metaphor provides important direction on how to construct and convey messages to the public about this disease,” said Dr Pradeep.
Retail data regarding consumer buying patterns confirm the activation of the Gateway Metaphor in the non-conscious mind. The stockpiling of basic consumables such as toilet paper and canned soup shows the activation of “gates may be closed for a while”. The collection of entertainment items such as games, CDs, and DVDs indicates that “the wait inside may be stressful” is also activated in the non-conscious.
“As concerns about the pandemic mount, public policymakers, the healthcare providers, consumer brand marketers, and others should consider utilizing the Gateway Metaphor both to communicate to, and educate the public,” Dr Pradeep said. “We want to lend our hand in the global battle against the virus by offering the Gateway Metaphor finding to those on the frontlines.”