Applying Mobile Consumer Neuroscience for Food Marketing - the Special Case of fNIRSDissertation
Datum der mündl. Prüfung:2021-09-13
Betreuer:Prof. Dr. Achim Spiller
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Daniel Mörlein
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Stephan Meyerding
EnglischThis work demonstrates the potential of consumer neuroscience (CN) employed to empirically study consumer behavior in the field of food marketing. Two mobile CN tools – functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and eye-tracking (ET) – were used to study various aspects of consumer behavior. Due to the multisensory complexity of food decision-making processes, traditional marketing research methodologies are increasingly complemented by neuroscientific methods. Those are able to detect unconsciously occurring processes in consumers’ minds. However, the neuroimaging tools used to date incur problems when examining consumer behavior in realistic environments and with real stimuli, which is crucial to investigate a wide variety of food related stimuli. As such, a new and innovative neuroimaging tool – fNIRS – was the special focus of this work. fNIRS promisingly indicates that it can overcome the mobility problem of the traditional methods used so far and that it can extend the application of neuroscientific tools to other population groups (e.g., children or overweight people). As such, it holds great potential for consumer neuroscience research. The articles presented here demonstrate that it is possible to measure brand- and label-related neural prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation using fNIRS. They show that fNIRS can generally be used as an approach for hedonic taste evaluations because it is possible to present the sensory stimuli to participants in a natural way while also measuring brain activity. Also, they demonstrate the ability of fNIRS to capture processing through differently framed and primed labels in food contexts, and different emotional processing and perceptional processes are detectable, measurable, and can be made visible with fNIRS. Additionally, the articles present a first approach to link neural responses to underlying mental processes by tracing the PFC activity in relation to a health-labelling approach back to brain regions associated with reward evaluation and self-control. The perception of real products in a close-to-realistic environment was assessed with the use of a mobile head-mounted eye-tracker, showing that research in close-to-realistic food shopping settings is possible and should be followed up on. Taken together, the articles point out that studies with greater ecological validity are possible with the help of mobile CN tools such as fNIRS and eye-tracking. Their integration and application expand the investigation of processes involved in food-related consumer behavior through the examination of additional internal (e.g., emotions) and external (real-world) influences. Thereby, they add to what is investigable with common marketing methods. This work increases consumers' data variance in economic studies and, as such, contributes to the further development of CN for food marketing. This dissertation gives an overview of the fNIRS methodology in the context of CN, which attempts to facilitate easy access to the methodology, especially for researchers not coming from the field of neuroscience or psychology. For marketers, it delivers some inspiration concerning what might be possible with mobile tools and specifically with fNIRS, and how one could profit from the use of CN, but also what should be considered regarding ethical aspects.
Keywords: Consumer Neuroscience; fNIRS; Eye-Tracking; Consumer Behavior