New Tools and Techniques for Understanding Non-Conscious Consumer Decisions

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Market researchers increasingly understand the importance of non-conscious processes in consumer decision making. A number of concepts and models are being adopted from cognitive neuroscience, such as conceptual and motivational priming and processing fluency. In tandem with these new models, researchers are turning to techniques that measure non-conscious processes either through direct brain measures (eg EEG, SST and fMRI), moment-by-moment eye-movement patterns (eye-tracking), facial expressions of emotion (FAC), or the non-conscious emotional and meaning associations that a brand or ad triggers (implicit-response measures). This paper briefly describes the theoretical background to how these ideas are being applied, as well as each main technique, with its potential uses, strengths and weaknesses.