Are Some Salespeople From Venus and Others From Mars? a Theory and Test of Interpersonal Mentalizing Using Fmri

Roeland Dietvorst, Erasmus University,The Netherlands
Willem Verbeke, Erasmus University,The Netherlands
Richard Bagozzi, University of Michigan
Carolyn Yoon, Marion Smits, Aad van der Lugt, University of Michigan, Erasmus University,The Netherlands, Erasmus University,The Netherlands
We investigate brain processes of salespeople in order to discover why some salespeople are better at interpersonal mentalizing than others. Based on emerging research on neural processes and on autistic spectrum disorders, we suggest a pattern of brain functioning that differentiates better from less skilled interpersonal mentalizers. More specifically, we identify a network of specialized brain modules that contributes to the ability of salespeople to “read the minds” of customers in the sense of recognizing customer intentionality and processing subtle interpersonal cues. We use functional magnetic resonance imaging to test hypotheses and develop implications for sales management.
[ to cite ]:
Roeland Dietvorst, Willem Verbeke, Richard Bagozzi, and Carolyn Yoon, Marion Smits, Aad van der Lugt (2008) ,"Are Some Salespeople From Venus and Others From Mars? a Theory and Test of Interpersonal Mentalizing Using Fmri", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research.