Beyond Self-Report: A Review of Physiological and Neuroscientific Methods to Investigate Consumer Behavior [Book Review]

Frontiers in Psychology 9:387541 (2018)
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Abstract

The current paper investigates the value and application of a range of physiological and neuroscientific techniques in applied marketing research and consumer science, highlighting new insights from research in social psychology and neuroscience. We review measures of sweat secretion, heart rate, facial muscle activity, eye movements, and electrical brain activity, using techniques including skin conductance, pupillometry, eyetracking, and magnetic brain imaging. For each measure, after a brief explanation of the underlying technique, we illustrate concepts and mechanisms that the measure allows researchers in marketing and consumer science to investigate, with a focus on consumer attitudes and behavior. By providing reviews on recent research that applied these methods in consumer science and relevant related fields, we also highlight methodological and theoretical strengths and limitations, with an emphasis on ecological validity. We argue that the inclusion of physiological and neuroscientific techniques can advance consumer research by providing insights into the often unconscious mechanisms underlying consumer behavior. Therefore, such technologies can help researchers and marketing practitioners understand the mechanisms of consumer behavior and improve predictions of consumer behavior.

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