Investigating Neural Correlates of Consumer Judgments

Session Chair: Carolyn Yoon, University of Michigan
Discussion Leader: Richard Gonzalez, University of Michigan

Investigating Neural Correlates of Consumer Judgments



Relative vs. absolute rewards: Evidence from experimental tasks and neuroimaging

Dan Ariely, MIT

Gregory Berns, Emory University and Georgia Tech

Rosa Aurora Chávez-Eakle, Emory University and Georgia Tech

Nina Mazar, MIT


Prior work raised hypotheses that the nucleus accumbens, sublenticular extended amygdala, amygdala, and hypothalamus may produce responses related to reward (Aharon et al., 2001).  In the current work, we examine the activity in these brain structures in order to better understand the way reward is encoded in the brain.  In particular, a set of offline and fMRI experiments were designed to test the extent to which absolute vs. relative values are represented in the brain and the mechanisms that facilitate each of these aspects of reward. Overall the results show a high sensitivity to relative but not absolute rewards. 



Why are celebrities effective? A fMRI study into episodic memory effects of presenter context

Vasily Klucharev, Erasmus University and Radboud University

Guillen Fernandez, Radboud University

Ale Smidts, Erasmus University                          


Recent behavioral research on celebrity presenters suggested that their effectiveness critically depends on celebrities having a readily perceivable 'expertise hook' with respect to the product they are endorsing (Rossiter & Smidts, 2004). The 'expertise hook' effect on brain activity is examined in an event-related fMRI study. Differences in neural responses to products in the medial temporal lobe and prefrontal cortex regions are tested in contrasts of celebrities paired with a ‘congruent’ product (i.e., hook) versus a ‘noncongruent’ product (i.e., non-hook). The effects of familiarity and attractiveness of presenters on neural responses as well as purchase intentions are also considered.



A fMRI study of neural dissociations between brand and person judgments

Carolyn Yoon, University of Michigan

Angela H. Gutchess, Harvard University

Fred Feinberg, University of Michigan

Thad A. Polk, University of Michigan


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to investigate whether semantic judgments about products and persons are processed similarly. Our results suggest they are not: comparisons of neural correlates of product versus human descriptor judgments indicated greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex regions for persons; for products, activation was greater in the left inferior prefrontal cortex, an area known to be involved in object processing. These findings serve to challenge the view that processing of products and brands is akin to that of humans.
[ to cite ]:
Session Chair: Carolyn Yoon and Discussion Leader: Richard Gonzalez (2006) ,"Investigating Neural Correlates of Consumer Judgments", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33, eds. Connie Pechmann and Linda Price, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 692-693.