How the Brain Reveals Why We Buy (Clinton Kilts 2003)
Aim/Purpose of Study Hypothesis: Product preference is determined by a specific function of the brain.
To find out what parts of the brain are Null Hypothesis: Product preference is not determined by a specific function of the brain.
involved in forming product
preferences. Research Method: Experimental/Observation (using MRIs to look at brain activity)
Experimental Design: Repeated measures
- Replicable Independent Variable: Type/brands of consumer goods shown
- Valid – study did what it claimed
to do, but needs to be replicated Dependent Variable: Participants’ reaction to the goods shown
with similar results for it to have
real scientific validity Potential Confounding Variables: Demand characteristics
Limitations: Extraneous Variables: Participants’ honesty when they rated the consumer goods
- Low ecological validity Controls: How the goods would be ranked (numerical scale)
(experiment done inside a
machine) Blind Technique: None
- Only American participants, not
- No blinds put in place
- Low participant variability
- Possible demand characteristics
- Participants presented with an array of various consumer goods and were asked to rank
them by appeal based on a numerical scale.
- Participants put into the MRI scanner and were shown the same goods, while the
apparatus registered the brain activity.
Ethics: - MRI scans were then analyzed
- Obtained consent of
- Participants kept anonymous
- No deception Results
- Everytime participants saw a product they really liked, blood rushed to a little area
towards the front of the brain and lit up in the scans: the medial prefrontal cortex
Only used American participants, not
Both genders of consumers considered. - The medial prefrontal cortex is an area very much involved in our self-identification and
the construction of our personality
o It is involved when we relate to ourselves and to who we are in some way.
- MRI scan results indicate that if you are attracted by a product, it is because you identify
Applications with it and that the product fits into the picture you have of yourself.
- Research on why consumers
choose one product over Supporting Studies
- Understanding the concept of Pepsi Paradox (Read Montague 2003)
branding, brand loyalty, and - Found that most subjects preferred the taste of Pepsi than Coke in a blind taste
the Pepsi paradox test
- When told which drink was which, most participants said they preferred Coke, even
though it wasn’t the case before
- Results suggest that Coca-Cola’s stronger brand outweighs the better taste of