To predict crowdfunding, scan consumers’ brains
Brain activity can predict consumer choices more accurately than what consumers say they want in questionnaires, a new study of people’s decisions to back crowdfunding campaign suggests.
Surveys and self-reports are a time-honored way of trying to predict consumer behavior, but they have limitations. People often give socially desirable answers or they simply don’t know or remember things clearly.The nucleus accumbens is a critical component of the brain's reward/pleasure circuitry; modulated by our old pals dopamine and serotonin.
The study suggests neural activity can not only be a better predictor of individual choices, but also can help forecast aggregate outcomes in the marketplace.
The researchers literally got inside people’s heads using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan test participants during a decision-making task. Marketers could eventually use the findings to better predict a product’s success.
“Surveys and behavioral reporting can work for a lot of things, but they’re not great for everything,” says Carolyn Yoon, a professor of marketing at the University of Michigan. “So much consumer behavior happens at the implicit level, and traditional tools often fall short of capturing what’s unobservable.”
Yoon and colleagues measured people’s neural activity with fMRI scans while they performed a task selecting which documentary films to support on the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter. They then asked them questions on what they thought about particular pitches.
The researchers subsequently tracked which projects achieved funding on Kickstarter. In the first study, 18 of the 36 selected projects were funded, and in the second 14 were eventually funded.
When they evaluated both the fMRI scans and responses to the questionnaires, they found that greater activity in a specific part of the brain (the nucleus accumbens) during the decision task predicted the success of a project being funded more reliably than the questionnaires....MORE
See, if interested, the very accessible:
Reward Deficiency Syndrome
(14 page PDF)