In this mini-series of Neuroeconomics, we look at purchasing decisions of consumers and how the activity in the brain can predict purchasing behaviour.
While some of us may think we don’t want a car, let alone car what type we’d choose, Susan Erk’s study in 2002 showed that in fact many of us can have extreme car category preference wether we know the exact brand name or not.
In the study she asked male subjects to rate different categories of cars – sportscars, limousines and small cars.
The brain activity of the Nucleus Accumbens (see below) was found to correlate directly to the car category preference; the more the brain reacted, the more they liked the ‘sportscar’, and the inverse was true for the least liked ‘small car’.
The category of product alone was enough to strongly activate the NA part of the brain, and signal a specific purchase decision, regardless of the lack of a specific brand to consider.
This is an interesting insight into the potential powerful effects of marketing to associate values to general items and spur a purchase decision within a category alone. How much value do “luxury” brands need to carry if the category itself can carry them so far?
Full rights and credits to the content extracted here from Dr Vasily Klucharev’s course ‘Introduction to Neuroeconomics; how the brain makes decisions’ through the National Research University Russia. Available now as an online learning course through Coursera.com. For more information please head to https://www.coursera.org/course/neuroec