The emerging discipline of neuroeconomics employs methods originally used in brain research for investigating economic problems, and furthers the advance of integrating neuroscientific findings into the economic sciences. Neuromarketing or consumer neuroscience is a sub-area of neuroeconomics that addresses marketing relevant problems with methods and insights from brain research. With the help of advanced techniques of neurology, which are applied in the field of consumer neuroscience, a more direct view into the “black box” of the organism should be feasible. Consumer neuroscience, still in its infancy, should not be seen as a challenge to traditional consumer research, but constitutes a complementing advancement for further investigation of specific decision-making behavior.
The key contribution of this paper is to suggest a distinct definition of consumer neuroscience as the scientific proceeding, and neuromarketing as the application of these findings within the scope of managerial practice. Furthermore, we aim to develop a foundational understanding of the field, moving away from the derisory assumption that consumer neuroscience is about locating the “buy button” in the brain. Against this background the goal of this paper is to present specific results of selected studies from this emerging discipline, classified according to traditional marketing-mix instruments such as product, price, communication, and distribution policies, as well as brand research. The paper is completed by an overview of the most prominent brain structures relevant for consumer neuroscience, and a discussion of possible implications of these insights for economic theory and practice.