Formative Research in Social Marketing

pp 145-163


Social Marketing Research and Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Ross GordonAffiliated withMacquarie University Email author 
  • , Joseph CiorciariAffiliated withSwinburne University of Technology

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This chapter considers the potential of cognitive neuroscience (mapping brain wave activity and associated physiological and cognitive responses) as a formative and pretesting research approach in social marketing. The chapter begins by considering traditional research approaches in social marketing, discussing some of their limitations and identifying an imperative for the field to embrace newer and alternative methodologies such as cognitive neuroscience to provide a broader research toolkit. A brief synopsis of key cognitive neuroscience methodologies including Electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), and eye tracking methods are then presented. The chapter then considers the potential role and utility that cognitive neuroscience could have for social marketing formative and pretesting research, illustrated by a case study of using EEG to pretest social marketing videos on energy efficiency. Some of the strengths and limitations of cognitive neuroscience are also considered. The chapter concludes by identifying some implications and important considerations for the use of cognitive neuroscience in social marketing research, and identifies some ideas for future research and practice.