For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Neural Assessment of Consumer Preferences for Food Products

Friday, January 31, 2020

11:30 AM-1:30 PM

BIOMED PhD Thesis Defense
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 methodologies 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 advertising 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 that current market research is not able to address between consumer attitudes and actual purchasing behavior.  Therefore, by better understanding the factors influencing consumer preferences, it could lead to better success of products in the market. 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 thesis, we 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. This thesis will provide several novel contributions to the knowledge base that can further consumer neuroscience research. First, we utilized a multimodal approach to better understand food consumption and preferences. By utilizing this method, it is possible to add information to understanding the user experience by combining self-reported and behavioral measures with neural physiological data. This will be able to provide a more comprehensive analysis. 

Second, we investigated the effect of machine user interface ergonomics on consumer experience in a naturalistic office setting. In a neuroergonomic study, we investigated two competing coffee machine interfaces while users interacted with the machines. Users prepared and consumed hot drinks in a realistic office setting and were continuously monitored with wireless brain and body sensors. By allowing participants to move around untethered in a simulated office environment where they are able to interact with the machines and the product, we are able to get better responses that would be representative of real-world preferences. 

 Next, we investigated the effect of impact of different hot beverages on cognition and on consumer preference. In a controlled multi-day study, we explored coffee and tea products and how they influence consumer preference and cognitive ability. By investigating the effects of the ingredients in different coffee and tea products will help gain knowledge into the effects they have on cognitive ability and consumer preferences. Further, there has been a trend of increasing products on the market that provide a benefit to the consumer. By comparing these products to traditional hot beverages, we were able to better understand how these types of product further affect consumer preferences and consumption behavior.

Lastly, we investigated the role of food advertisements on product likeability and how they affect consumption behavior. Advertising for food has been shown to have a significant influence on food consumption behaviors. By investigating the neural correlates while viewing food and non-food advertisements we can better understand the effect of the advertisements on consumers preferences and willingness to buy products. 

By combining both self-reported, behavioral and neurophysiological measures we were able to comprehensively and objectively understand different factors that affect consumer preferences for food products. The findings of this research can be used to enhance our understanding of food choices and purchase behavior, optimize methodology used for food consumption studies and provide guidance for further research in consumer neuroscience studies.

Contact Information

Ken Barbee

Remind me about this event. Notify me if this event changes. Add this event to my personal calendar.


CONQUER Collaborative, Monell Chemical Senses Center, Room 114, located at 3508 Market Street.


  • Undergraduate Students
  • Graduate Students
  • Faculty
  • Staff