Topoi in Neuromarketing Ethics

  • Cristian Ducu


Neuromarketing is one of those emerging fields that promise a lot, but are also surrounded in controversy. It promises to offer a privileged access to the most intimate emotions and unconscious thoughts, which should serve as an undisputed background for effective marketing practices. It promises to be successful where traditional market research techniques and tools failed. But this does not come cheap: a lot of public figures, philosophers and neuroscientists expressed multiple concerns regarding the ethical and legal implications of the neuromarketing research and applications. The aim of this study is to map these ethical concerns and provide a series of elements which can help both researchers and practitioners clarify the ethical limits of their work. The chapter contains two major sections and some brief closing remarks. The first one contains two major distinctions which will serve as basis for the entire ethical discussion in the next section: neuromarketing as both a field of research and applications and neuromarketing ethics as research ethics and as ethics of brain research. The second section is dedicated to a quasi-comprehensive presentation of the ethical challenges of neuromarketing. These topoi are divided in three categories: ethics of neuromarketing research (overclaiming; research conduct—informed consent, protection of vulnerable research participants, paying participants; data practices—research design and scientific validity, confidentiality, research dual use; publication practices—authorship, cherry-picking and salami-slicing, research transparency); ethics of neuromarketing technologies (no harm; privacy; incidental findings); and ethics of neuromarketing applications (manipulative and deceptive marketing practices; exacerbating the emotional factor).


Neuromarketing ethics Research ethics Brain imagining Human dignity Consent 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Advanced Research in Management and Applied EthicsBucureștiRomania

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