The application of neuroscience methods to analyze and understand preference formation and decision making in marketing tasks has recently gained research attention. The key contribution of this paper is to complement the advancement of traditional consumer research through the investigation of the event-related potentials (ERPs) associated with preferences elicited during a discrete choice experiment (DCE). Five subjects participated in the experiment as they chose their preferred computer background image from a set of images with different colors and patterns. Emotiv EPOC, a commercial wireless Electroencephalogram (EEG) headset with 14 channels, was utilized to collect EEG signals from the subjects while making one hundred and fifty choice observations. The collected EEG signals were filtered and cleaned from artifacts before being epoched into segments of 1000 msec each for ERP analysis. When observing the average of EEG epochs, collected while the subjects chose their preferred background images, there was a clear P300-ERP component with its largest power shown at the left frontal channel (F3 from the international 10-20 system). A significant difference was revealed between the average ERP potential on F3 during the epochs that coincided with the images containing the preferred objects against that coinciding with the images that did not contain the objects of interest (with p <0.01). A clear N400-ERP component on the parietal lobe sensor at P7 was also revealed to be significantly related to the difference in absolute preference (with p <0.02). Our experimental results also showed that there was a negative relationship between the speed of the decision and the difference in preference for the objects in the decision.
- Consumer neuroscience
- Decision making