Undergrad Neuromarketing Entrepreneur


I’m often contacted by undergrad and grad students looking for information on how to pursue a career in neuromarketing in the absence of established university courses and programs. In most cases I can provide little useful guidance other than to try to work with professors who are involved in the area and and to obtain internships or other appointments at the few commercial neuromarketing companies. With this as background, I was delighted to see a New York Times article about one Yale undergrad who addressed the dearth of formal programs by launching her own neuromarketing business:

In her sophomore year, Emily Yudofsky received an e-mail message from a new organization, the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, created through the Yale University Office of Cooperative Research to support students interested in founding businesses. Ms. Yudofsky was selected as one of 12 participants in the 2007 Summer Fellowship Program, the institute’s first. She was the only woman. “It’s an interesting problem,” she says, noting that when she returned last summer “as a guest alum of the program, there wasn’t a girl in the room.”

That is not daunting Ms. Yudofsky, who set up her neuromarketing company, Applied Resonance Research, last year as a limited liability corporation. She wants to specialize in research that involves public service advertising, the campaigns for nonprofit organizations and causes that ad agencies typically create on a pro bono basis. [From the New York Times A Neuromarketer on the Frontier of Buyology by Stuart Elliot]

Yudofsky’s first project is focused on ads aimed at preventing obesity. She will be doing fMRI studies of ads provided by the Advertising Council with the aim of improving their effectiveness with brain scan data.

Yudofsky didn’t just stumble into neuromarketing by accident. Her father is Dr. Stuart C. Yudofsky, chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Baylor is the home of Dr. Read Montague (author of Why Choose This Book) and has been the site for multiple studies attempting to apply neuroscience to marketing and branding, including the fMRI “Pepsi Challenge” that demonstrated the power of CocaCola’s brand. (See also Brain Branding: The Power of Strong Brands.)

  1. KyNam Doan says

    Roger, this is a great story, and Emily is a Woman going places. I applaud her forward lean and go-get-em attitude.

    But I’m left a bit wanting at the end of your post! How would I pursue a career in neuromarketing? 😉

    Good post as always, KyNam

  2. Nick Trendov says

    Roger, great site…

    Regarding this article storytelling trumps fMRI in every way and directing your students to explore stories may be worth their while.

    Start here http://numerati.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/neuropersona-and-story-lenses/

    then jump to the original No5 article http://numerati.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/chanel-no5-and-neuropersona-behaviour/

    with Marie-Louise von Franz and a primer on Sufi stories.

    Aworst it will provide them with skills easily transferable to social situations or help them put their children to sleep. Try that with a fMRI story.


  3. Samuel D. Bradley says


    Thanks for this post.

    Although we have not yet ventured into fMRI, allow me to suggest that students interested in this field can get an excellent education and preparation at Texas Tech University.

    Our advertising department run a psychophysiology lab where we collect, EKG, facial EMG, skin conductance, blood flow, and EEG. We also have an eye-tracking lab.

    We have hired a second professor in psychophysiology, and he is starting in the fall.

    The psychophysiology lab is an active group of about 10 graduate students.

    We offer both an M.A. and a Ph.D., and qualified students are funded as graduate assistants.

    We also have an excellent psychophysiologist in psychology department here, and my graduate students take courses with him almost every semester.

    The graduate students in my lab present papers at the annual meetings of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the American Academy of Advertising.

    If people are interested in these types of careers, please have them contact me. Although it won’t say “neuromarketing” on the degree, they can get first rate training here.

    This is a very exciting place right now. We have a dean with great vision, and the program is growing. While most states have budget problems, there are no such problems in Texas.

  4. Samuel D. Bradley says

    Sorry to fill up your comments 🙂

    I also want to point out that undergraduate advertising majors work in the lab, too. Several are taking independent study classes to work on projects in the lab.

    And I also clearly meant, “Our advertising department runs …”

  5. Elias says

    The University of Warwick has some podcasts based focusing on Neuromarketing via iTunes U. In order to find these lectures simply go to the iTunes store search bar and type “neuromarketing” it should pop up. Happy Listening!

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