Brain-scanning technology reveals how we process brands and products

Mar 17, 2006

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.

"[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."

Source: University of Chicago

Explore further: Researchers discover low-grade nonwoven cotton picks up 50 times own weight of oil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fermi satellite detects gamma-rays from exploding novae

1 hour ago

The Universe is home to a variety of exotic objects and beautiful phenomena, some of which can generate almost inconceivable amounts of energy. ASU Regents' Professor Sumner Starrfield is part of a team that ...

NASA sees Genevieve squeezed between 3 tropical systems

1 hour ago

The resurrected Tropical Depression Genevieve appears squeezed between three other developing areas of low pressure. Satellite data from NOAA and NASA continue to show a lot of tropical activity in the Eastern ...

US warns retailers on data-stealing malware

1 hour ago

US government cybersecurity watchdogs warned retailers Thursday about malware being circulated that allows hackers to get into computer networks and steal customer data.

Recommended for you

Soccer's key role in helping migrants to adjust

18 hours ago

New research from the University of Adelaide has for the first time detailed the important role the sport of soccer has played in helping migrants to adjust to their new lives in Australia.

How dinosaurs shrank, survived and evolved into birds

20 hours ago

That starling at your birdfeeder? It is a dinosaur. The chicken on your dinner plate? Also a dinosaur. That mangy seagull scavenging for chips on the beach? Apart from being disgusting, yet again it is a ...

User comments : 0