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5 Ways to Use Neuroscience in Marketing

New methods can provide critical data about underlying processes.

In the Journal of Marketing Research, Hilke Plassmann, Vinod Venkatraman, Scott Huettel, and Carolyn Yoon outline five ways that consumer neuroscience can be productively applied to answer important marketing questions.

1. Identifying Mechanisms

Neuroimaging tools can help validate, refine, or extend existing marketing theories by providing insights into the underlying mechanisms. For example, knowledge about brain metabolism contributes to understanding the mechanisms underlying self-control failures.

2. Measuring Implicit Processes

Neuroscience techniques can provide information about implicit processes that are typically difficult to access using other approaches—as when consumer responses may be subject to self-deception and social desirability biases.

3. Dissociating Between Psychological Processes

Neuroimaging can demonstrate dissociations between psychological processes. For example, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can discriminate whether two different kinds of decisions recruit similar or different neural processes and thus whether they are likely to involve similar or different psychological processes.

4. Understanding Individual Differences

Neuroimaging and other methods can be leveraged to better understand individual differences and sources of heterogeneity in consumer behavior.

5. Improving Predictions of Behavior

Decision-making models that include neural measures can improve predictions of consumer behavior. In one example, researchers predicted population-level real-market data for music albums’ commercial success from the neural responses of an independent group of participants to the songs.

Download from the American Marketing Association (free until July 11, 2016)
Consumer Neuroscience: Applications, Challenges, and Possible Solutions by Hilke Plassmann, Vinod Venkatraman, Scott Huettel, and Carolyn Yoon, Journal of Marketing Research (August 2015)

 

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