November 26, 2015 – The Neuroscience of Consumer Choice
We review progress and challenges relating to scientific and applied goals of the nascent field of consumer neuroscience. Scientifically, substantial progress has been made in understanding the neurobiology of choice processes. Further advances, however, require researchers to begin clarifying the set of developmental and cognitive processes that shape and constrain choices. First, despite the centrality of preferences in theories of consumer choice, we still know little about where preferences come from and the underlying developmental processes. Second, the role of attention and memory processes in consumer choice remains poorly understood, despite importance ascribed to them in interpreting data from the field. The applied goal of consumer neuroscience concerns our ability to translate this understanding to augment prediction at the population level. Although the use of neuroscientific data for market-level predictions remains speculative, there is growing evidence of superiority in specific cases over existing market research techniques.