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Neural Assessment of Consumer Preferences for Food Products

Friday, November 30, 2018

1:00 PM-3:00 PM

BIOMED PhD Research Proposal

Neural Assessment of Consumer Preferences for Food Products

Amanda Sargent, PhD Candidate, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Drexel University

Hasan Ayaz, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Drexel University

Rajneesh Suri, PhD, Vice Dean for Research and Strategic Partnerships, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University

The application of neuroscience and neuroengineering approaches to the study of product marketing is a new research area at the intersection of neuromarketing, neuroeconomics and consumer neuroscience. This emerging multidisciplinary field aims to better understand consumers and their interaction with products and services beyond the traditional self-report surveys and articulated responses from focus groups.

Consumers make decisions every day, especially when deciding what food products to purchase or consume, yet little is known about how promotions and preparation effects those decisions. Knowing the main factors that influence consumers’ food and drink choices provides important information for better understanding factors that affect consumers’ preferences and purchase decisions. Currently, there is a disparity between consumer attitudes and actual purchasing behavior and better understanding the factors influencing consumer preferences could lead to better success of products in the market. Using a new generation of wearable and portable neuroimaging sensors, brain activity can be monitored and used to analyze how consumers respond to product communications (e. g. ads, websites, packaging), engage with the products (e. g. use or consume) and how these affect consumer preferences in general. With traditional self-reported measures, consumers may not be able to fully articulate their preferences. Therefore, use of objective measures could complement self-reported measures to provide a richer more in-depth analysis of consumer decision making and preferences.

In this proposal, the goal is to take a neuroergonomics approach and dovetail traditional self-reported approaches with objective neural measures to better understand consumer tendencies and preferences and how they affect their consumption behavior. The proposed thesis will provide several novel contributions to the knowledge base that can further consumer neuroscience research. First, we investigated the effect of machine user interface on consumer experience. We chose coffee machines that are an integral part of everyday tasks and office life. In a neuroergonomic study, we investigated two competing coffee machine interfaces, while users prepared and consumed hot drinks in a realistic office setting while continuously monitored with wireless brain and body sensors. Next, we investigated the effect of product presentation on consumer experience. In a controlled multi-day study, we explored product promotions and how they influence consumer preference and consumption of hot beverage products. Products that promote health benefits are becoming more popular in the past few years. By understanding how promoting a product with personal benefits influences consumer preferences will help better inform marketers of the impact of this trend. Lastly, we will investigate the role of advertisements on product likeability and how they affect consumption behavior. The findings of this research will further enhance the understanding of how different types of promotions and user interfaces affect how consumers view products and eventually influence their purchasing behavior.

Contact Information

Ken Barbee

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