Neural Predictors of Purchases

Scott Rick, University of Pennsylvania
Brian Knutson, Stanford University
Elliott Wimmer, Stanford University
Drazen Prelec, George Loewenstein, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University
According to standard models of intertemporal choice, people consume immediately if the benefits of doing so outweigh the foregone benefits of consuming later. Prelec and Loewenstein (1998) instead propose that price deters spending not through thoughts of foregone consumption, but rather through an immediate pain of paying. We examined the competing perspectives in an experiment in which participants’ brains were scanned with fMRI while they decided whether to purchase consumer goods. Inconsistent with the standard economic perspective, activation in insula, a region associated with the experience of a variety of painful stimuli, correlates negatively with purchasing decisions made seconds later.
[ to cite ]:
Scott Rick, Brian Knutson, Elliott Wimmer, and Drazen Prelec, George Loewenstein (2008) ,"Neural Predictors of Purchases", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 129-132.