Gerdin Business Building, Iowa State University

Iowa State University has officially opened their new neuromarketing laboratory in the Gerdin Business Building on their Ames campus. The new lab, led by marketing professor Terry Childers, will use EEG to study consumer decision-making. One early study looks at how consumers react to pictures vs. text in advertising:

“If you see an ad in a magazine or the newspaper or even on the Internet, some of it will be in graphic form, some of it will be in text form,” Childers said. “We’re interested in understanding to what extent the information that is conveyed through the picture interacts with what is presented in the text and how that information is utilized when people are making decisions about what restaurant potentially to go to.” [From Iowa State Daily – Study shows brain waves, effects on customer decisions.]

For the nascent neuromarketing industry, there are a couple of significant aspects to this announcement. First and foremost, having independent academic research on using EEG brain scans to predict behavior can’t help but boost the credibility of commercial neuromarketing ventures. Second, it’s good to see that Iowa State isn’t shying away from using “neuromarketing” to describe what it is doing in the lab; this, too, is good for an industry that has been so criticized for lack of scientific rigor that some academics prefer to avoid the term. (We’re prejudiced, but we kind of like “neuromarketing” better than “consumer decision science” or similar monikers.)

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