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Brain-scanning Technology Reveals How We Process Brands And Products

Date:
March 18, 2006
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
In a groundbreaking new study use cutting-edge brain-scanning technology to explore how different regions of the brain are activated when we think about certain qualities of brands and products. The study is the first to use fMRI to assess consumer perceptions and has important implications for the use of metaphorical human-like traits in branding.

In a groundbreaking new study, researchers from the University of Michigan and Harvard University use cutting-edge brain-scanning technology to explore how different regions of the brain are activated when we think about certain qualities of brands and products. The study, forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research, is the first to use fMRI to assess consumer perceptions and has important implications for the use of metaphorical human-like traits in branding.

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"[fMRI] allows one to gauge, for the first time, the degree to which the underlying thought processes are similar," write the researchers.

Subjects were given 450 adjectives such as "reliable," "sophisticated," and "cheerful," and scanned while indicating whether each word was applicable to themselves and someone else. The sample group was also scanned while making similar judgments about brands they know and use. The researchers discovered that even when the consumers were judging products on unmistakably human terms, they still used the part of the brain associated with inanimate objects.

"Although we may use similar vocabularies to describe people and products, we can't say that the same concepts are involved," explain the researchers. "Companies building brand images and icons should be wary of taking the legitimately useful metaphor of brand personality too literally, since it's now apparent that consumers themselves do not."

Reference: Carolyn Yoon, Angela H. Gutchess, Fred Feinberg, and Thad A. Polk. "A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Neural Dissociations between Brand and Person Judgments" Journal of Consumer Research. June 2006.


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The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Brain-scanning Technology Reveals How We Process Brands And Products." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060318144712.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2006, March 18). Brain-scanning Technology Reveals How We Process Brands And Products. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060318144712.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Brain-scanning Technology Reveals How We Process Brands And Products." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060318144712.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

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