Marketing Letters

, Volume 19, Issue 3–4, pp 323–336 | Cite as

Towards a brain-to-society systems model of individual choice

  • Laurette DubéEmail author
  • Antoine Bechara
  • Ulf Böckenholt
  • Asim Ansari
  • Alain Dagher
  • Mark Daniel
  • Wayne S. DeSarbo
  • Lesley K. Fellows
  • Ross A. Hammond
  • Terry T-K Huang
  • Scott Huettel
  • Yan Kestens
  • Bärbel Knäuper
  • Peter Kooreman
  • Douglas Spencer Moore
  • Ale Smidts


Canonical models of rational choice fail to account for many forms of motivated adaptive behaviors, specifically in domains such as food selections. To describe behavior in such emotion- and reward-laden scenarios, researchers have proposed dual-process models that posit competition between a slower, analytic faculty and a fast, impulsive, emotional faculty. In this paper, we examine the assumptions and limitations of these approaches to modeling motivated choice. We argue that models of this form, though intuitively attractive, are biologically implausible. We describe an approach to motivated choice based on sequential sampling process models that can form a solid theoretical bridge between what is known about brain function and environmental influences upon choice. We further suggest that the complex and dynamic relationships between biology, behavior, and environment affecting choice at the individual level must inform aggregate models of consumer choice. Models using agent-based complex systems may further provide a principled way to relate individual and aggregate consumer choices to the aggregate choices made by businesses and social institutions. We coin the term “brain-to-society systems” choice model for this broad integrative approach.


Choice models Dual-process models Agent systems Sequential sampling process models Motivated adaptive behavior Neuroscience Neuroeconomics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurette Dubé
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antoine Bechara
    • 2
  • Ulf Böckenholt
    • 1
  • Asim Ansari
    • 3
  • Alain Dagher
    • 4
  • Mark Daniel
    • 5
  • Wayne S. DeSarbo
    • 6
  • Lesley K. Fellows
    • 7
  • Ross A. Hammond
    • 8
  • Terry T-K Huang
    • 9
  • Scott Huettel
    • 10
  • Yan Kestens
    • 11
  • Bärbel Knäuper
    • 12
  • Peter Kooreman
    • 13
  • Douglas Spencer Moore
    • 14
  • Ale Smidts
    • 15
  1. 1.Desautels Faculty of ManagementMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Brain and Creativity InstituteUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Columbia Business SchoolNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.The Montreal Neurological InstituteMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  5. 5.CHUM– Centre de Recherche, Axe santé des populationsMontrealCanada
  6. 6.Smeal College of Business at the Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  7. 7.Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute and HospitalMontrealCanada
  8. 8.Economic Studies Program, The Brookings InstitutionWashingtonUSA
  9. 9.National Institute of Child Health & Human DevelopmentBethesdaUSA
  10. 10.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  11. 11.Dép. Médicine Sociale and PréventiveUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada
  12. 12.Department of PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  13. 13.Department of EconomicsTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  14. 14.School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  15. 15.Rotterdam School of ManagementErasmus University RotterdamTilburgThe Netherlands

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