EEG Scans Provide Insights into Consumer Decisions
- Can EEG studies predict what your customers will buy?
- How do you evaluate the data from EEG tracings?
Electroencephalogram (EEG) equipment was developed decades ago to help diagnose diseases like epilepsy and other brain disorders. Using an array of electrodes placed on the scalp, an EEG scan produces a record of electrical activity in many areas of the brain. That record was initially a series of ink tracings on a moving sheet of paper. Today, the tracings are more likely to be recorded as computer data.
Beginning in the 1990s, EEG scans began to be used in Neuromarketing research as a way of viewing brain activity in test subjects who were exposed to advertising and marketing materials.
They can examine brain activity mostly in the outer areas of the brain. The brain’s electrical activity responds quickly to external stimuli, so immediate responses to marketing materials presented can be accurately correlated to reactions on the multiple tracings. The information can provide valuable insights to researchers and marketers. The technology, however, has both advantages and disadvantages when compared to other methods.
Advantages of EEG Scans in Neuromarketing Research
EEG tracings reveal some valuable, but limited information.
- Moderate in cost – EEG-powered market research is affordable and readily available from several Neuromarketing firms. There is a wide range of equipment.
- Flexible in various settings – Today, electrodes are typically part of a wearable cap or helmet, with electrodes pre-positioned. Tests can be conducted in various settings, not just limited to a lab environment.
- Combined with other testing – Eye-tracking, Galvanic Skin Resistance (GSR) and other tests can be done simultaneously with EEG in a single session. More tests mean more data to interpret.
- Valuable information on consumers’ thought processes – Instead of measuring activity in a specific brain structure, EEG provides a rough neural activity estimate in a large brain area. Researchers often gauge test subjects’ attention, excitement, and motivation.
- EEG responds quickly to stimuli – Unlike fMRI scans, which take several seconds after a stimulus to see a brain response, EEG responses appear in milliseconds.
Disadvantages of EEG Neuromarketing Test Studies
While fMRI scans look at the activity level of brain’s different areas, EEG can only monitor electrical activity in the outer areas of the brain and cannot accurately pinpoint active locations in the brain. That makes EEG scans more difficult to interpret.
- EEG scans are somewhat intrusive – Many subjects react somewhat negatively to having electrodes placed on the scalp. Conductive gels are also used, which must be washed out after testing. Those reactions can interfere with test results in some cases.
- EEG studies are time-consuming – The set-up process for each subject takes significant time, which can limit the number of subjects that can be tested in a set amount of time.
- Subject selection may not reflect customer demographics – As with all technological studies, recruiting suitable subjects can be difficult.
- Analysis of data requires training and experience – Depending on the electrode count for a specific study, analyzing the tracings and interpreting the results demands expertise. Accuracy depends on the skills of the analyst.
Avoid Reinventing the Wheel
Testing a large subject base using EEG takes considerable time but produces more accurate results overall.
Searching for and accessing such studies can be a daunting task and understanding and interpreting them requires a high level of experience and a thorough knowledge of statistical analysis.
As a professional Neuroscientist and Neuromarketing specialist, Dr. Terry Wu has been studying those published EEG reports for years. In his consulting work with companies of all sizes and in all business sectors, he can often eliminate the need to repeat such EEG studies by referring to data from existing publications. That is just one way he helps clients save time and money in implementing Neuromarketing strategies. Before undertaking a costly and time-consuming in-house study, contact Dr. Wu to discuss your company’s marketing plans. He can assist you in many ways to help you incorporate Neuromarketing and boost your revenues dramatically. Ask about a cost-effective initial marketing analysis and consultation from our Neuromarketing firm.