Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief overview of the methodology of several brain imaging techniques and in particular, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and its potential implications for market research. The aim is to enable the reader both to understand this emerging methodology and to conduct independent research in the area. Design/methodology/approach – A short introduction on current neuroimaging methods used in behavioral neuroscience is provided by means of a literature review. The ensuing discussion focuses on fMRI as the currently most popular neuroimaging technique. Having described the fMRI methodology, an outline of the analysis of functional neuroimaging data follows, after which there is a discussion of some key research issues. Findings – Although in its infancy, fMRI seems to be a useful and promising tool for market researchers. Initial studies in the field reveal that fMRI is able to shed light on subconscious processes such as affective aspects of consumer behavior. Practical implications – Because brand positioning, advertising strategies and even pricing strategies are often based on constructs such as emotions, neuropsychological findings and methods should have important implications for practitioners in the field of brand management and advertising. Nonetheless, far more basic research is needed before fMRI can be adopted for marketing practice. Originality/value – This paper is one of the first in the marketing literature to provide a methodological overview of fMRI and discuss the potential implications for marketing research.
Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 10, 2007
Keywords: Market research; Brain; Research methods
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