The Conscious Consumer vs. the Consumer Unconscious: Insights from Decision Neuroscience
Evidence from surveys and other self-report methods suggest that a growing number of consumers have a stated preference for “green” products and a reported willingness to pay more for such products. But there is a market disconnect in the fact that such stated preferences do not reliably translate to purchase behaviors. Recent academic research employing brain imaging measurements made while participants were exposed to green advertising versus control advertising has found that while the subjects rate green ads more positively, the reward centers of their brains (in particular, brain areas that have been previously shown to predict purchase behavior) are activated more by control ads than by green ads. Other researchers have found that participants who explicitly report preferences for green products nonetheless display patterns of implicit associations to such products suggesting that they find them weaker or less efficacious than control products. Such empirical dissociations pose a challenge for brand advertisers focused on marketing sustainable products. This session features a panel of leading researchers from the consumer neuroscience industry to review and discuss such dissociations between stated preferences and unconscious brain and behavioral responses, and to highlight effective strategies for shifting consumer habits and building strong brand associations.