Consumer sensory neuroscience in the context of food marketing
Petit O., Velasco C., Cheok AD., Spence C.
The development of neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has provided marketers with the possibility of studying changes in brain activity in relation to marketing information (packaging, pricing, promotions, etc.) and decision-making. When consumers interact with a product, the brain captures and stores the related sensory experience in a multisensory representation in memory. Such memories serve consumers when making their future decisions. Thus, the senses play an important role in consumer behavior and the results of fMRI studies provide an interesting way for sensory marketers to analyze how the brain processes sensory information affecting product perception. In this article, we show how multisensory information, as well as mental simulation, impact taste expectations and subsequently taste, or bettersaid, flavor, perception in the light of neuroimaging studies. First, we discuss how neural analysis can help to understand the effect of marketing information on taste perception. Second, we highlight the role of gustatory inference on food perception in light of the latest fMRI findings. Third, we suggest some directions to improve the understanding of crossmodal correspondences in the context of consumer sensory experiences.