Sometimes when you enter a department store, you have a free feeling. You know that when you find what you want, you can buy it.

It’s your emotional self deciding, even when your rational mind has a hard time justifying the purchase. So says Roger Dooley, author of Brainfluece: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Customers with Neuromarketing.

0215-051csNeuromarketers use technical tools to measure such things as electrical activity in the brain, but their science mainly tells what retailers and advertisers always knew: Buyers are wooed.

It begins when you see the mannequins in the store window. They look left or right to make better contact with you, encouraging you to go inside.

Retailers know your sense of smell is a subconscious motivator. It can trigger cravings or memories. Aromas like flowers or citrus make you linger, according to Scent Marketing. The longer you are in a store, the more likely it is that you will buy. And you’ll relax with scents like lavender or vanilla.

The music you hear will be updated versions of what was popular when you were younger. Lighting in fitting rooms will be soft and warm. Often the clothing has a more generous fit than the size on the tag indicates.

Neuroeconomist Paul Zak of Claremont Graduate University explains it.

“We’re always trying to manipulate. It’s like when we’re dating or raising our children. But many of our practices are what make shopping enjoyable.”

Always shop with a list, and have enough time so you won’t buy impulsively. Shop alone. And wait half an hour or overnight before you buy a very expensive item, so your rational brain has time to engage.