One of the most efficient ways in gaining an insight into how consumers think is the synchronised use of the EEG and the EYE tracking instrument. The EEG records the underlying cortical activity on exposure to stimuli or while performing tasks/ making decisions while the EYE tracking evaluates the particular part of the stimuli deconstructing it into visual cues. A combined metric of the EEG and the EYE tracking is one of the most popularly used methods by modern day consumer neuroscientists.
This paper has adopted a holistic way of approaching the phenomenon by cross analysing visual and EEG activity and identifying patterns. Consumers responses towards crackers was collected by means of a discrete choice experiment where participants had to choose their most favourite and least favourite amongst three crackers presented on the screen varied across characteristics of shape ( round, triangle or square), flavour ( wheat, dark-rye or Plain) and topping ( salt, poppy or none).
The study found that the flavour and topping had more of an influence on choice than the shape. Other supportive findings re-emphasised the importance of the prefrontal cortex, the occipital lobe and the parietal lobe in decision making tasks upon the presentation of marketing stimuli.
The synchrony between different cortical regions was studied by defining a metric called Phase Locking value, which challenged previous studies illustrating the amount of information exchange between the occipital and parietal lobes on the presentation of emotional stimuli. The results of this study however, illustrated higher Phase Locking Value between the Occipital and Parietal Lobes indicating some underlying neural underpinnings and information exchange between these lobes on decision making upon the presentation of visual stimuli.
This study also reiterates the importance of the Theta, Alpha and Beta bandwidth and their integration during the processing of marketing stimuli and decision making. The results offer certain keen insights into the reward-circuit of the brain often associated with functions such as marketing, advertising and packaging.
The limitations of the study include- its inapplicability in consumption studies as the stimuli presented is not real and the experience of eating the cracker and then making a decision would be different from making a choice only by seeing it, however- the insights can be applied to marketing collateral and packaging in certain industries.
While the study does mention that the EEG-EPOC system is a very efficient way of measuring neural data, plenty of researchers have expressed their cynicism towards the 14-electrode channel system calling it restrictive, noisy ( data wise) and low in resolution. Using a 64-Electrode system or higher could help avoid this and also perhaps help cross – analyse and look for a high PLV across more electrode sites to check if there were other areas that were mutually active in processing such data.
Source : Emotiv EEG EPOC
Another limitation of the study is that eye gaze data is not provided. The eye tracking data illustrating which cracker was viewed for a longer time or viewed first could have elicited important visual patterns and underlying synchronous EEG data could have been analysed alongside. Some eye tracking averages could have been illustrated in the study.
Overall, studies like this one can be applied to FMCG products such as crisps, crackers, biscuits, cookies or even extrapolated to other edible and inedible objects. Studying packaging and advertising of the designs of products by designing such experiments using experiments like this as a reference can provide interesting and unique responses otherwise ignored by market researchers or consumer panels.
We at IRIANS are very interested in conducting similar research across practically, every field by creating our own unique research methodology and expertise.
Source of the Article: Khushaba, R. N., Wise, C., Kodagoda, S., Louviere, J., Kahn, B. E., & Townsend, C. (2013). Consumer neuroscience: Assessing the brain response to marketing stimuli using electroencephalogram (EEG) and eye tracking. Expert Systems with Applications, 40(9), 3803-3812.
The presentation attached summarises the study titled ” Consumer neuroscience: Assessing the brain response to marketing stimuli using electroencephalogram (EEG) and eye tracking”.
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IRIANS- The Neuroscience Institute