Brain Candy

Prof Ming Hsu and neuroeconomics

Prof. LevineBy Pamela Tom


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is typically used in medicine to visualize the internal structures of the human body. But by using functional MRI, Assistant Marketing Professor Ming Hsu is leading the way to understanding how the brain functions to enable us to make economic and consumer decisions.


In research published in January in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hsu and two coauthors from the University of Illinois studied how participants responded to outcomes determined by their own actions and those of opponents. By examining players’ neural responses in an investment game, they discovered the prefrontal cortex processes learning about others’ beliefs.


Studying decision-making processes in the brain may ultimately enable marketers to improve on traditional research methods to predict behavior, Hsu says.


“For example,” he adds, “we can one day look at neural responses of consumers and understand how their brains react to advertising campaigns and promotions.”


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