Using EEG to Examine the Role of Attention, Working Memory, Emotion, and Imagination in Narrative Transportation
European Journal of Marketing, 52(1/2), 92-117, 2018
Posted: 4 Jan 2017 Last revised: 19 May 2018
Date Written: 2018
Purpose: This paper presents a study using encephalography (EEG) to investigate consumer responses to narrative videos in energy efficiency social marketing. The purpose is to assess the role of attention, working memory, emotion, and imagination in narrative transportation, and how these stages of narrative transportation are ordered temporally.
Design/methodology/approach: Consumers took part in an EEG experiment during which they were shown four different narrative videos to identify brain response during specific video segments.
Findings: The study found that during the opening segment of the videos, attention, working memory, and emotion were high before attenuating with some introspection at the end of this segment. During the story segment of the videos attention, working memory, and emotion were also high, with attention decreasing later on but working memory, emotion, and imagination being evident. Consumer responses to each of the four videos differed.
Practical implications: The study suggests that narratives can be a useful approach in energy efficiency social marketing. Specifically, marketers should attempt to gain focused attention and invoke emotional responses, working memory, and imagination to help consumers become narratively transported. The fit between story object and story-receiver should also be considered when creating consumer narratives.
Social implications: Policy makers, and organisations who wish to promote pro-social behaviours such as using energy efficiently, or eating healthily should consider using narratives.
Originality/value: This research contributes to theory by identifying brain response relating to attention, working memory, emotion, and imagination during specific stages of narrative transportation. The study considers the role of attention, emotion, working memory, and imagination during reception of stories with different objects, and how these may relate to consumers’ narrative transportation.
Keywords: Narrative transportation, EEG, Attention, Working memory, Emotion, Imagination, Social marketing, Energy efficiency
JEL Classification: M31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation