Redefining neuromarketing as an integrated science of influence

Hans C. Breiter, Martin Block, Anne J. Blood, Bobby Calder, Laura Chamberlain, Nick Lee, Sherri Livengood, Frank J. Mulhern, Kalyan Raman, Don Schultz, Daniel B. Stern, Vijay Viswanathan, Fengqing (Zoe) Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiple transformative forces target marketing, many of which derive from new technologies that allow us to sample thinking in real time (i.e., brain imaging), or to look at large aggregations of decisions (i.e., big data). There has been an inclination to refer to the intersection of these technologies with the general topic of marketing as “neuromarketing”. There has not been a serious effort to frame neuromarketing, which is the goal of this paper. Neuromarketing can be compared to neuroeconomics, wherein neuroeconomics is generally focused on how individuals make “choices”, and represent distributions of choices. Neuromarketing, in contrast, focuses on how a distribution of choices can be shifted or “influenced”, which can occur at multiple “scales” of behavior (e.g., individual, group, or market/society). Given influence can affect choice through many cognitive modalities, and not just that of valuation of choice options, a science of influence also implies a need to develop a model of cognitive function integrating attention, memory, and reward/aversion function. The paper concludes with a brief description of three domains of neuromarketing application for studying influence, and their caveats.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1073
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 Breiter, Block, Blood, Calder, Chamberlain, Lee, Livengood, Mulhern, Raman, Schultz, Stern, Viswanathan and Zhang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution and reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Funding: NIDA (#14118, 026002, 026104,027804) grants (DABK39-03-0098 and DABK39-03-C-0098); Office of National Drug Control Policy; NINDS (#052368).


  • neuromarketing
  • neuroeconomics
  • marketing communications
  • neuroimaging
  • scaling
  • influence
  • choice


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