Is neuromarketing coming to a retailer near you?

Thanks to Cog Sci Blog reader “LF” for making me aware of this interesting article in The Atlantic concerning a (possibly) emerging field called neuromarketing:

[The] field of neuromarketing [argues] that fMRI [functional magnetic resonance imaging – brain scanning] technology provides fail-safe insights into consumer behavior. Unlike traditional methods of measuring the effectiveness of advertisements, fMRI defeats the curse of standard market-testing: the bias in self-reporting. In other words, if the ventral striatum [region of the brain] lights up when I drink Pepsi, this means—according to FKF, at any rate—that I find Pepsi greatly pleasurable, even if I report no particular experience of pleasure in a taste test.

Although neuromarketing, like other kinds of ‘applied’ brain research, has a long way to go before it can produce truly compelling data, I was please to read that the article made note of some of the various limitations and validity issues inherent in fMRI.


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