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

See all articles by Ross Gordon

Ross Gordon

Macquarie University - Department of Marketing and Management; Macquarie University, Faculty of Business and Economics

Joseph Ciorciari

Swinburne University of Technology

Tom van Laer

The University of Sydney

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

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

Gordon, Ross and Ciorciari, Joseph and van Laer, Tom, Using EEG to Examine the Role of Attention, Working Memory, Emotion, and Imagination in Narrative Transportation (2018). European Journal of Marketing, 52(1/2), 92-117, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2892967 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2892967

Ross Gordon (Contact Author)

Macquarie University - Department of Marketing and Management ( email )

Australia

Macquarie University, Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Australia

Joseph Ciorciari

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122
Australia

Tom Van Laer

The University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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