Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2371675
 


 



Using Single-Neuron Recording in Marketing: Opportunities, Challenges, and an Application to Fear Enhancement in Communications


Moran Cerf


Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; New York University (NYU); UCLA Department of Neurosurgery

Eric Greenleaf


New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing

Tom Meyvis


New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing

Vicki Morwitz


New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing

December 18, 2013


Abstract:     
This paper introduces the method of single-neuron recording in humans to marketing and consumer researchers. First, we provide a general description of this methodology, discuss its advantages and disadvantages, and describe findings from previous single-neuron human research and their implications for consumer research. Second, we present an illustrative study that uses this methodology to examine peoples’ ability to up-regulate (i.e., enhance) the emotion of fear, an issue with implications for designing effective fear communication appeals. After first identifying neurons that respond to fearful content, we then find that people can willfully increase the firing rates of these neurons when viewing fearful video clips. However, the impact of these up-regulation efforts on neuron firing rates is significant only for learned fear (e.g., a clip about climate change) and not for innate fear (e.g., a clip of a spider). These results indicate that marketers using fear appeals could consider messages that urge consumers to voluntarily increase their fear for undesirable outcomes, which might help strengthen their resolve to avoid them.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 51

Keywords: neuroscience, emotions, consumer communication, fear appeals, climate change

JEL Classification: M31, M37

working papers series


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Date posted: December 26, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Cerf, Moran and Greenleaf, Eric and Meyvis, Tom and Morwitz, Vicki, Using Single-Neuron Recording in Marketing: Opportunities, Challenges, and an Application to Fear Enhancement in Communications (December 18, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2371675 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2371675

Contact Information

Moran Cerf (Contact Author)
Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )
2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
New York University (NYU)
40 W. 4th Street
Suite 900
New York, NY 10003-711
United States
UCLA Department of Neurosurgery
405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States
Eric Greenleaf
New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing ( email )
Henry Kaufman Ctr
44 W 4 St.
New York, NY
United States
Tom Meyvis
New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing ( email )
Henry Kaufman Ctr
44 W 4 St.
New York, NY
United States
Vicki Morwitz
New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing ( email )
Henry Kaufman Ctr
44 W 4 St.
New York, NY
United States
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