Superbowl ads light up the MRI

I have to point to this entry on the SciAm blog:

For example, during a Fed Ex ad a caveman ends up being crushed by a dinosaur. Although subjects described the ad as funny, it also elicited a strong response in the amygdala, which governs responses to threats or fear. They may not have consciously experienced fear, but their brains were assessing the threat of that dinosaur.

I participated in one of these fMRI experiments once -- hey, they gave me a free picture of my brain!, and I'm trying to imagine the mechanics of this. They may be getting impressions of the advertisement generally rather than any one moment, so ads that rely on punchlines may not register as highly as ads (like the Disney World spot mentioned) that have a consistent theme throughout.

But then much of the interesting variation among people has to be by sex, and advertisers have known for a long time how different pitches appeal to men or women.