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Kilts 2003 MRIs and fMRIs

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					                              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
Strengths:
                                           Sampling: Self-selected
-    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
     cross-culturally valid
-    No blinds put in place
-    Low participant variability
                                           Procedure
-    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
     -    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
Cultural Influence:

Only used American participants, not
cross-culturally valid
                                           Conclusions
Gender Influence:
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
          another
     -    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
                                                       Pepsi

				
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