The Applied Neuromarketing Group

Weekly Meeting Time:

Every Thursday from 12:30 to 2:30.
McCormick-Tribune Center, Room 2-131, 1870 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Video conferencing available 
via Google+ Hangout and Skype (

Recently Submitted Abstracts:

Block et al. Depression and Media Use

Calder et al. Anticipation and the NAc

Viswanathan et al. Age and Loss Aversion

The Applied Neuromarketing Group: Defining Influence and Behavior Change

Neuromarketing seeks an integrated foundation for the principles underlying judgment and decision-making (JDM), and their associated control functions, which can ground efforts to influence JDM, whether through (a) engineering and design, (b) media and advertising, (c) business marketing, or (d) mechanisms of behavior change for medical goals. JDM involves a confluence of attention (signal detection), memory (Ebbinghaus functions), reward/aversion processing (relative preference theory and prospect theory) and game theoretical constructs. Each of these constructs can be synopsized by a small set of variables and their interactions. The interactions between constructs have never been defined, but with recent advances in neuroscience, systems analysis, and iterative modeling, can now be explored, characterized and tested, as can implications of their related control functions outside of the constructs for which they were initially identified. These control functions define how these constructs can be perturbed or “influenced”, independently, and together. It is important to note that neuromarketing separates itself from neuroeconomics in its focus on understanding "influence" across the principles of JDM, and not just identifying what these JDM principles are. Neuroeconomics has also been more narrowly defined by its practitioners around reward/aversion processing and game theoretic constructs, without significant focus on attention and memory processes that influence how well advertising is noticed and how long it has any exposure and behavior influencing effects.

Neuromarketing focuses on the principles that define "behavior change" and "influence" on JDM in the framework of modern biology, and thus seeks mechanistic explanations across multiple levels of organization via scaling and its ability to predict a majority of the variance at relevant levels of organization. Multi-scale interactions are a necessary precondition for any construct and its control; without these, a construct cannot be considered to have biological plausibility, or to be perturbable in a quantifiable and manageable fashion. Hence, for the Applied Neuromarketing Group (ANG), we seek to define interactions between, but not limited to, the following contructs:

(i) signal detection description of attention - 

(ii) relative preference theoretic description of reward - 

(iii) Ebbinghaus function regarding memory loss/retention - 

CNG further seeks to understand interactions across the neurobiology that embeds these constructs.

Along with building this integrative psychology/neurobiology foundation for JDM, neuromarketing seeks to integrate experimental psychology and social psychology methods in a manner that facilitates the exploration of JDM neurobiology and the evolutionary pressures on this neurobiology. Given its organization within a modern biological framework, neuromarketing can address what is the effect of new technology on JDM, and study what are the reciprocal interactions between the constructs that define JDM, and the evolutionary pressure on them (e.g., how is human JDM responding to the presence of the Internet and digital technology?). In combination with integrative psychology/neurobiology, this information will further have an important effect on algorithm development for data acquisition, and optimization of technology for recommendation and ad serving systems working within Internet and wireless domains.

Evolutionary pressures will have led to differences in the expression of JDM constructs (i.e., attention, memory, reward/aversion, game theoretic choice in behavioral and neurobiological terms), along with their interaction, as different cultures. It cannot be presumed that what is known about JDM and its capacity for perturbation by influence in Western cultures will also be employed in the same ways in non-Western cultures. Hence, neuromarketing seeks to understand how principles and their control functions work across world cultures, and to quantify how different evolutionary pressures may have altered their expression. This understanding can be used to guide the development of culturally attuned design, marketing, media, and behavioral change metrics.

Neuromarketing thus represents efforts at levels of (1) integrative psychology and modeling, (2) neurobiology across scales that embeds this integrative psychology, (3) evolutionary contexts that explicate pressures on the relationship of environment-epigenome-genome that expresses integrative psychology, and (4) cultural differences that have developed in response to differential evolutionary pressures. Neuromarketing basically asks for an explication of the interaction between evolution and influence, to build an understanding of influence that is more powerful, more capable of self-regulation and appropriate adaptation to external regulation, and consistent with each individual’s ability to express their free will without fear of coercion. 


Syagnik Banerjee - University of Michigan (Flint) 

Martin P Block - Northwestern University 

Anne J Blood - Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital

Hans C Breiter - Northwestern University/Massachusetts General Hospital

Bobby Calder - Northwestern University 

Jim Carey - Northwestern University 

Clarke Caywood - Northwestern University

Laura Chamberlain - Aston Business School, UK

Jodi M Gilman - Massachusetts General Hospital

Ashlee Humphreys - Northwestern University

Dipak C. Jain - Northwestern University, INSEAD

Hugh Jedwill - Heartland Mobile Council, Chicago

Byoung Woo Kim - Massachusetts General Hospital 

Jake Kuster - Massachusetts General Hospital

Nick Lee - Aston Business School, UK

Rosa Lee - Massachusetts General Hospital 

Sang Lee - Massachusetts General Hospital 

Ed Malthouse - Northwestern University 

Frank Mulhern - Northwestern University 

Thomas Nicholson - The Nicholson Group

Lucia Porcu - University of Granada 

Kalyan Raman - Northwestern University/ International Monetary Fund 

Lisa Raman- Spina Bifida Association of America

Brenna Schaaf - Northwestern University

Don Schultz - Northwestern University 

Heidi Schultz - Agora-IMC 

Vijay Viswanathan - Northwestern University 

Hao Ying - Wayne State University