RESEARCH ARTICLEOpen Access
An ERP-study of brand and no-name products
Anika Thomas1,2, Anke Hammer3,4, Gabriele Beibst2and Thomas F Münte3*
Background: Brands create product personalities that are thought to affect consumer decisions. Here we assessed,
using the Go/No-go Association Task (GNAT) from social psychology, whether brands as opposed to no-name
products are associated with implicit positive attitudes. Healthy young German participants viewed series of photos
of cosmetics and food items (half of them brands) intermixed with positive and negative words. In any given run,
one category of goods (e.g., cosmetics) and one kind of words (e.g., positive) had to be responded to, whereas
responses had to be withheld for the other categories. Event-related brain potentials were recorded during the task.
Results: Unexpectedly, there were no response-time differences between congruent (brand and positive words)
and incongruent (brand and negative words) pairings but ERPs showed differences as a function of congruency in
the 600–750 ms time-window hinting at the existence of implicit attitudes towards brand and no-name stimuli. This
finding deserves further investigation in future studies. Moreover, the amplitude of the late positive component
(LPC) was found to be enhanced for brand as opposed to no-name stimuli.
Conclusions: Congruency effects suggest that ERPs are sensitive to implicit attitudes. Moreover, the results for the
LPC imply that pictures of brand products are more arousing than those of no-name products, which may ultimately
contribute to consumer decisions.
Keywords: Go/Nogo, Event-related potentials, Brands, Neuromarketing, Implicit associations, Late positive component,
Lateralized readiness potential
A brand is the personality that identifies a product. Brands
like Coca Cola, Ford, or Chanel are deeply embedded in
our lives, and companies struggle hard to develop their
brands and to provide a unique selling proposition .
In most markets, there are competitors selling no-name
products which try to gain a share of the business. A
central question in marketing research is therefore to
what extent positive attitudes towards brands contribute
to consumer decisions. Interview statements and verbal
self-reports may provide some information  but they
are notoriously insensitive with regard to the consumer’s
decision [3-5]. Moreover, they are insensitive to implicit
associations that are linked to unconscious automatic
attitudes [6,7]. Brands are thought to implicitly engage
specific positive associations (e.g., quality, value, youth,
strength, speed, etc.) which are not triggered by no-name
products. Such implicit associations may be critical for the
consumer’s decision to buy [8-11].
Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated activations
of reward related structures such as the striatum and
the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in response to stimuli
representing brand products [12-16]. Thus, brands seem
to have an implicitly rewarding property. Moreover,
Schaefer  pointed out that brands, in particular luxury
brands, may also be used to mark the social status of
the owner and indeed logos of luxury brands were associ-
ated with brain activity in the anterior medial prefrontal
cortex, a region known to be associated with self-centered
Another way to assess the presence of implicit attitudes
has been proposed by Nosek and Banaji  who devised
the Go/No-go Association Task (GNAT). This test,
disguised as a choice reaction time task, can be used to
measure associations between categories (e.g., faces of
elderly or young people - assuming that elderly faces are
associated with negative attitudes) and either pole of an
evaluative dimension (e.g., positive or negative words).
Words and category stimuli appear in different trials and
* Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
3Department of Neurology, University of Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160,
Lübeck 23538, Germany
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
© 2013 Thomas et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Thomas et al. BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:149
randomly intermixed. In any given block of the experiment,
participants are required to make a Go-response (button
press) to one of the categories under study (e.g., faces of
young people) and to one kind of words (e.g., positive
words) while withholding responses (Nogo) to the other
stimulus types (here: elderly faces, negative words).
Category and word stimuli are combined differently for
consecutive blocks of the experiment. Go-responses to
incongruent pairings (e.g., press for elderly people or
positive words) typically result in slower response-times
(RTs) as compared to congruent pairings (e.g. elderly
people and negative words) showing that the average
participant in such an experiment harbors implicit nega-
tive attitudes towards the elderly. Differences in response
times (RTs) can thus be taken as an index of the strength
of an individual’s automatic association, with a bigger dif-
ference indicating a stronger implicit attitude. The GNAT
and the closely related dual-response Implicit Association
Test (IAT)  have successfully been used to investigate
implicit attitudes towards race, gender and body-weight
[18,20] as well as consumer goods [21-24]. With the
specific aim to investigate whether implicit or explicit
attitudes towards brand and no-name products influence
the actual choice of consumers, Friese et al.  tested
explicit preferences on a 7-point Likert scale and implicit
preferences using the IAT. Participants were then given the
choice between brand and no-name products. Participants
whose explicit and implicit preferences regarding no-name
and brand were incongruent more often chose the impli-
citly preferred brand over the explicitly preferred one
when choices were made under time pressure. When no
time–pressure was present, the opposite pattern emerged.
Thus, implicit attitudes towards consumer products might
influence consumer decisions under certain circumstances.
A similar finding was recently reported by Beattie and Sale
 who investigated consumer behavior with regard to
high and low carbon dioxide products. While explicit
measures did not differentiate the choice of high/low
carbon products, the implicit measure did. Again, time
pressure was a significant factor. Because of such findings,
the importance of implicit measures in consumer research
has been stressed recently [9,11].
In previous work [26,27] we have adapted the GNAT
paradigm to be used with event-related potentials (ERPs)
taking advantage of the fact that studies in various cognitive
domains have uncovered robust ERP findings that can be
used as chronometric indices for the decision processes
leading to the Go or Nogo response. The GNAT lends
itself to electrophysiological studies much better than the
IAT as it has the advantage to yield two components that
can be used to describe the relative timing of information
access, the N200 and the lateralized readiness potential
(LRP). This lateralized part of the readiness potential has
been used as an index for specific response preparation
 and can be isolated by a double subtraction technique
[29-31]. Importantly, the resulting LRP can be obtained
for trials requiring a “go”-response, as well as for trials
requiring a “nogo” response. In the latter, temporary
development of a negative LRP may indicate that some
information was present favoring a go-response. Thus, this
method allows to derive critical information about the
absolute and relative timing of information access even
in the absence of overt responses [32-36].
A number of electrophysiological studies have directly
compared Nogo and Go-trials and have shown that the
stimulus-locked ERP in Nogo-trials is characterized by a
large negativity of about 1–4 μV in size occurring with
task dependent onset latencies over the fronto-central scalp
[37-40]. This frontal “N200” has been linked to inhibitory
In the present investigation, we combined the GNAT-
paradigm with the recording of event-related potentials,
thus putting us in the position to assess both, behavioural
and neural correlates of implicit associations towards
brands (see Figure 1 for an illustration of the experimental
set-up). As in similar studies from our lab addressing
other topics [26,27,45,46], instructions paired products
(brands as compared to no-name-products) from one of
two taxonomic categories (cosmetics or food) with either
pole of an evaluative dimension (positive or negative
words), for example: press for cosmetics or positive words,
do not press for food items or negative words. We assumed
that brands give rise to implicit positive associations,
whereas no-name-products were thought to be linked
to implicit negative associations. Participants focused on
the decision for words (positive vs. negative) and product
categories (food vs. cosmetics) and were naïve to the fact
that the experiment addressed the differential processing
of brands and no-name-products. Each run required a
Go response to one of the taxonomic categories and one
We hypothesized that implicit attitudes would be
reflected by response latencies for the product decisions
such that brands should be responded to faster in blocks
that paired the product category of the brand with positive
words, whereas response latencies for no-name-products
were expected to be faster in blocks that paired the
product categories with negative words.
In an unpublished companion study, using fMRI, we
found a behavioural effect of product status (brand vs.
no-name) on the response latency such that congruent
pairings (brand and positive words; no-name products
and negative words) led to faster reaction times com-
pared to incongruent pairings. Moreover, comparison
of fMRI activations in incongruent and congruent trials
revealed significant differences in several brain areas
suggesting that brands are implicitly associated with
Thomas et al. BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:149
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Thus, we hypothesized that a similar behavioural pattern
should also emerge in the present study. Moreover, similar
to our GNAT study assessing implicit attitudes towards
fruits and insects  and old and young people , we
expected a latency difference of the N200 component as
a function of congruency (longer latency for incongruent
trials) which would enable us to locate the effect of brands
in time. Likewise, with regard to the lateralized readiness
potential, we hypothesized that for congruent blocks the
onset of the LRP should be earlier than in incongruent
blocks . While in light of our previous work we formu-
lated our hypotheses with regard to the N200 and LRP
components, we were also interested in any differences
between ERPs recorded in incongruent and congruent
conditions, as these could be taken as an indicator of the
presence of implicit associations.
Finally, in view of numerous fMRI studies addressing the
basic neurophysiological effects of brands [12,14,15,47],
we examined general ERP differences between brand
and no-name products.
Responses to brand products (congruent=670 ms, SD=
196; incongruent=668 ms, SD=189) were faster than those
to no-name products (congruent=694 ms, SD=202; in-
congruent=694 ms, SD=204; F(1,15)=24.56, p<.001).
The main effects of Congruency (F(1,15)=0.07) and Re-
sponse hand (F(1,15) = 1.47) and the interaction effects
(Product x Congruency, F(1,15) = 0.01; Product x Hand,
F(1,15) = 0.93; Congruency x Hand, F(1,15) = 1.87; Pro-
duct x Congruency x Hand, F(1,15) = 1.24) did not reach
significance. Response latencies to negative (758 ms,
SD = 190) and positive words (773 ms, SD = 197) were
statistically indistinguishable (T(15) = 0.86, n.s.).
With regard to errors, only a low error rate was observed
for the picture trials (0.94% in Go trials and 5% in Nogo
trials). For the Go trials, statistical analysis revealed neither
a main effect of Product (F(1,15)=2.1, p=.17), a main ef-
fect of Congruency (F(1,15)=.03, p=.86) nor a significant
Product x Congruency interaction (F(1,15)=.12, p=.73).
A similar pattern was observed for Nogo-trials (Product, F
(1,15)=.12, p=.73; Congruency, F(1,15)=1.07, p=.32;
Product x Congruency, F(1,15)=1.3, p=.27). Word trials
were similarly associated with a low error rate (3.06% in
Go trials, 5.0% in Nogo trials).
Figure 2 illustrates the basic Go/Nogo effect for brand and
no-name stimuli. A typical N200 is present for brand and
no-name stimuli for congruent and incongruent conditions.
To isolate the N200, Nogo minus Go difference waves were
computed (Figure 3). No systematic differences in latency
of the N200 were seen as a function of congruency. Mean
ERP amplitudes (200–400 ms, including central electrodes
Fz, Cz, Pz) were subjected to a repeated measurement
ANOVA revealing a highly significant main effect of Go/
Nogo (F1,15)=33.32, p<.001) but neither a main effect of
Product (F(1,15)=2.96) nor of Congruency (F(1,15)=0.75).
Also, interactions between the factor Go/Nogo and the
other factors did not reach significance. The onset latency
of the N200 was estimated by determining the point in
time at which the negative area under the curve in the time
window 200–400 ms reached 25% of its maximum. There
was neither a main effect of Congruency (F(1,15)=0.98)
nor a Congruency by Product interaction (F(1,15)=1.24).
Figure 4 illustrates the effect of congruency on the ERP.
While there was no influence of congruency in the time-
window of the N200 (see above), a later effect between
Figure 1 Paradigm for the elicitation of implicit attitudes.
A: Illustration of the 4 different classes of stimuli. Participants were
asked to press (go) or not press (nogo) a response button according
to whether or not an item belonged to the cosmetics or food
category. Of both categories, half belonged to major German brands
whereas the other half represented no-name products. B: Pictures of
food and cosmetic items were presented in random order intermixed
with words with positive or negative valence. In any given run, the
participant had to press for one class of picture items (e.g., food) and
one class of words (e.g., negative). In the actual experiment, color
images were used.
Thomas et al. BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:149
Page 3 of 9
600–800 ms emerged in particular for the Nogo condition
in that the congruent brand stimuli were associated with
a less positive waveform. This effect was not seen for
no-name products. This effect was quantified by a mean
amplitude measure 600–750 ms. While the main effect
of Congruency was not significant (F(1,15) = 0.87), we
observed a triple interaction between Product x Go/
Nogo x Congruency (F(1,15) = 4.97, p < 0.05) reflecting
the fact that congruency had a differential influence in
brand and no-name products and influenced only
Figure 5 demonstrates the effects of brand status. Brand
stimuli were associated with a more positive waveform
compared to no-name products starting about 350 ms post
stimulus onset and extending until about 700 ms. This
effect was quantified by a mean amplitude measure in
the 400 to 600 ms time window (P3/4, Pz, C3/4, Cz). The
ANOVA revealed a main effect of Product (F(1,15)=4.87,
p < 0.05) and a main effect of Go/Nogo (F(1,15) = 15.1,
p < 0.01) but neither an effect of Congruency (F(1,15) =
0.02) nor any interactions with that factor.
The grand average LRPs for brand and no-name products
for congruent and incongruent conditions are shown in
Figure 6. There were no apparent onset differences as a
function of congruency for the Go-trials. The LRP was
quantified by a mean amplitude measure in consecutive
Figure 2 Grand Average ERPs, Go/Nogo effect: the ERPs for
midline electrodes show a typical enhanced negativity for
Nogo trials starting around 250 ms.
Figure 3 Difference waves (Nogo-Go): difference waves show
the typical phasic N200 response associated with Nogo trials.
There were no systematic latency differences as a function
Figure 4 Grand Average ERPs, Congruency effect: an effect of
congruency is observed in the 600 – 800 ms time-window for
the Nogo trials. Incongruent stimuli are more negative in this
time-window for the brand stimuli and more positive for the
Thomas et al. BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:149
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time-windows of 50 ms (starting at 100 ms post-stimulus).
This analysis showed significant main effects for Go/Nogo
between 300 and 500 ms. Moreover, a main effect was
observed for the factor Product (F(1,15)=5.95, p<.01) in
the time-window 150 – 200 ms and a significant interaction
of Product x Go/Nogo (F(1,15)=4.57, p<.01) was seen in
the window 350 ms to 400 ms. Other main effects or
interactions failed to reach significance.
ERPs to words
ERPs to words show a highly prominent effect of Go/Nogo
(F(1,15) = 19.45, p < .001, time window 400 – 600 ms;
The present investigation was conducted to delineate the
presence and time-course of implicit attitudes to brands
and no-name products using the Go Nogo Association
Task. We failed to observe a reaction time pattern indica-
tive of implicit associations, which was puzzling as an
unpublished fMRI experiment by our group using the
same materials had revealed a robust RT effect. Also, we
did not observe a latency difference of the N200 and LRP
components as a function of congruency. Such latency
differences had emerged in previous studies of our group
investigating implicit attitudes towards “fruits and bugs”
 and elderly and young faces . However, we did
observe later ERP differences as a function of congruency
which occurred considerably later in time than the N200
component. Moreover, we also found a general difference
between ERPs to brand and no-name products with the
former having a more positive waveform starting around
Implicit associations to brands?
As stated above, we failed to demonstrate the expected
effects of congruency on response latencies to the brand
and no-name product stimuli. It has to be pointed out,
however, that the current experiment diverges from the
standard procedure of the GNAT in several important
ways: First, rather than presenting simple categories of
Figure 5 Grand Average ERPs, Brand effect: brand stimuli are
associated with an enhanced late positive component
compared to no-name products.
Figure 6 Lateralized readiness potentials: a typical LRP is
observed for the Go-trials. No latency differences are present as a
function of congruency. In the Nogo trials, no LRP emerges.
Figure 7 Grand Average ERPs, word stimuli: the ERPs to the
word stimuli show a typical enhanced N200 component for the
Thomas et al. BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:149
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items (e.g., fruits and insects) and pairing them with
words of a specific valence, we used conjoint categories
(brand cosmetics, no-name cosmetics, brand foods,
no-name foods). Nosek and Banaji  have pointed
out that conjoint categories might be special. For example,
the evaluation of subgroups of larger social groups (e.g.,
race/ethnicity) may be different from that of the entire
larger group. Thus, white Americans may be evaluated
in a particular manner that is dissimilar to evaluations of
Italian Americans and Polish Americans. In addition, in
our experiment participants had to make judgements about
class membership (cosmetics, food items) but we were in-
terested in within class differences in implicit associations
(e.g., brand cosmetics, no-name cosmetics).
In spite of these differences to standard GNAT designs,
an fMRI experiment using the same stimulus materials
(albeit with a different timing because of the requirements
of the MRI-method) revealed a reaction time increase for
incongruous relative to congruous stimuli of 50 ms. This
was true for both, brands (ΔRT 25 ms) and no-name
products (ΔRT 74 ms). Please note, that as in the current
task the following pairings were considered congruous:
brands + positive words, no-name products + negative
words. At this point we can therefore only speculate as
to why there was no effect of congruity in the present set of
data? One possible explanation concerns the participants:
Whereas the participants of the MRI study were 29 years
old (mean), mostly working in academic professions and
from Hannover, West Germany, the participants of the
current EEG study were considerably younger (22 years),
students and from Magdeburg, East Germany. It is concei-
vable that the difference in environment, age and financial
resources might have influenced implicit attitudes towards
brand and no-name food and cosmetic products.
In light of the missing difference for the response
latencies for congruent and incongruent stimuli, it is
no surprise that no latency differences were observed for
the N200 component of the ERP or the LRP. There have
been, however, congruity-related modulations of the ERP
in a later time-window (600–800 ms) in particular for the
Nogo condition. Interestingly, whereas for brand stimuli
the incongruous condition led to a more negative waveform
in this time-range, the opposite effect was observed for
the no-name stimuli. A previous study, using a structurally
similar Go/Nogo paradigm in the assessment of bilingual
language processing also described such late effects of
incongruity in Nogo trials (see Figure 3 in ). In this
study incongruency effects for the go-responses were
seen in the latency range of the N200 component and
consequently was interpreted as reflecting partial inhibition
of the go response. By contrast, an increased negativity
due to incongruency with an onset latency of about
600 ms was seen for the nogo responses. This was seen
as a reflection of inhibition as the particular stimulus
contained information favoring a go-response. For the
brand stimuli of the current study, a similar logic can be
applied: Consider nogo brand stimuli in incongruent
blocks: In these blocks positive words have to be responded
to whereas (positively valued) brands are associated with
a nogo response. The positive connotation should lead to a
tendency to press the button which needs to be suppressed,
manifesting itself in the late ERP effect.
Differences between brands and no-name products
Interestingly, we observed general differences between
brands and no-name products. First, responses to brand
products were about 25 ms faster. Secondly, the ERPs to
brand products were associated with a more positive
waveform. In the ERP literature, a number of late positivi-
ties have been described, such as the P3/P300 [48,49] and
the late positive component .
Whereas the P3 in visual tasks is usually rather peaked
in appearance and occurs with latencies between 300 and
500 ms, the late positive components have a more extended
waveshape and have been decribed in a number of situa-
tions, including retrieval of items from memory [51-53] but
particularly in response to emotional stimuli. A long-lasting
elevated ERP positivity to emotional, arousing pictures is a
common finding [54-62]. It has been reported that pleasant
as well as unpleasant stimuli elicit more positive-going
ERPs in the 300–900 ms range and that such stimuli are
recalled more often than neutral stimuli . From its
latency and distributional characteristics the current en-
hanced positivity for brand products could be related to
these earlier findings, suggesting that brand products are
more arousing which in turn might lead to a better retrieval
and ultimately might consumers’ decisions.
LPC enhancement has also been reported for familiar
compared to unfamiliar stimuli . As the relative famil-
iarity of brand products and no name products differed,
an alternative explanation of the greater LPC could be that
this simply reflects different degrees of familiarity rather
than differential emotional engagement. At this point, we
are unable to distinguish between these two possibilities.
We did not observe a response latency difference or N200
latency difference between congruent and incongruent
pairings of brand/no-name products and positive/negative
words. Further research is needed to assess whether this
was due to our specific adaptation of the GNAT-paradigm.
The addition of ERPs to the GNAT has proven useful in
the current experiment, as we could reveal late effects of
congruency as well as a more general effect of brands vs.
no-name products indicative of a deeper processing of
brands. The IAT (e.g., [10,21,23,64] and priming paradigms
 may present an additional fruitful avenue to explore the
neural effects of implicit attitudes towards brands.
Thomas et al. BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:149
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All procedures and materials were approved by the insti-
tutional review board of the University of Magdeburg,
Germany, the affiliation of the senior author at the time of
Sixteen young students of the University of Magdeburg
(13 women, mean age 22.4 +/− 3.4) gave written consent to
participate for financial compensation or course credit.
All had normal or corrected-to-normal vision, were
right-handed, neurologically healthy and native German
speakers. Eight further participants were lost due to
technical difficulties or excessive artefacts.
Stimuli and procedure
An illustration of the basic classes of stimuli and the
timing of the experiment is given in Figure 1. The critical
stimuli were color photographs of brands (n = 24) and
no-name products (n = 24). We made sure that we had
pairs of stimuli (e.g., one famous type of coffee and one
no-name coffee) and that the photographs of these pairs
were matched as closely as possible for the angle from
which the photo was taken, size of the product on the
photo and background (all black). Also, the graphical
complexity of the label was similar. Thus, no-name
products with plain labels (“body lotion”, “yoghurt”)
without graphical elaboration were avoided. Half of the
pictures in each category (brands/no-name products)
depicted cosmetics, the other half depicted food items,
thus yielding 4 stimulus categories (cosmetic brand, food
brand, cosmetic no-name, food no-name). Pictures were
taken for the study and were presented in the center
against a black background. The stimuli were assessed
for familiarity in a further group of young healthy adults
(n = 15, 8 women, age 21–35, mean age 28.1 years) on a
5 point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all familiar)
to 5 (very familiar). The brand-name products had a
high degree of familiarity (mean 4.3, SD 0.9), whereas the
familiarity of the no-name products was lower (mean 2.7,
SD 1.6; p<0.01).
In addition, 48 word stimuli (half with a negative
valence, e.g. bomb; half with a positive valence, e.g.
sunshine) were taken from Banfield et al.  and were
matched for length and frequency using the CELEX
data base . Stimuli were presented on a video-
monitor using the software Presentation (Neurobehavioral
The experiment was subdivided into 8 runs of 5 minutes
duration comprising the presentation of 96 trials each.
One trial consisted of the presentation of the stimulus
(duration of 500 ms) followed by a fixation cross (duration
between 2000 and 3000 ms, rectangular distribution). In
each run all 24 pictures of food, 24 pictures of cosmetic
products, 24 positive words and 24 negative words (as
“arrogant”) were presented in pseudo-randomized order
with the condition that each stimulus category was not
to be repeated more than twice in a row. Each of the eight
runs featured a different instruction for the participant:
1. Press the button with the left hand for food
products and positive words and withhold a
response to cosmetics and negative words.
2. Press the button with the left hand for food
products and negative words and withhold a
response to cosmetics and positive words.
3. Press the button with the left hand for cosmetic
products and positive words and withhold a
response to food and negative words.
4. Press the button with the left hand for cosmetic
products and negative words and withhold a
response to food and positive words.
5.-8. As in 1 to 4 but with right hand button presses.
Please note that the participants were not aware that the
main purpose of the study was to distinguish behavioural
responses and brain activity to brands and no-name prod-
ucts. Responses were given using a modified computer
mouse held either in the left or right hand. Statistical
analysis of response latencies was carried out by analysis
of variance (ANOVA) with product (brand, no name),
congruency (congruent, incongruent) and response hand
(left, right) as within subject factors.
The order of the runs/instructions was counterbalanced
across participants. The whole experiment lasted approxi-
mately 43 minutes (excluding electrode application, instruc-
tions for the different runs, and debriefing). Participants
were tested in a dimly lit room while sitting in a comfort-
able chair. The distance to the display was 80 cm.
ERP recording and data analyses
The ERPs were recorded from the scalp using tin electrodes
mounted in an elastic cap and located at 29 standard
positions (Fpz, Fz, Cz, Pz, Fp1/2, F3/4, C3/4, P3/4, O1/2,
F7/8, T3/4, T5/6, Fc1/2, Cp1/2, Fc5/6, Cp5/6). A reference
electrode was placed on the left mastoid process. Vertical
eye movements were monitored with an electrode at the
infraorbital ridge of the right eye against Fpz (vertical
EOG) and with a bipolar montage between two electrodes
placed on the lateral canthi of the left and right eye
(horizontal EOG). Electrode impedances were kept below
The electrophysiological signals were filtered with a
bandpass of 0.01-70 Hz (half-amplitude cutoffs) and
digitized at a rate of 250 Hz. Trials on which base-to-peak
electro-oculogram (EOG) amplitude exceeded 200 μV,
amplifier saturation occurred, or the baseline shift exceeded
250 μV/s were automatically rejected off-line. Datasets
Thomas et al. BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:149
Page 7 of 9
with more than 30% of the trials rejected were excluded
from further analysis. For the remaining participants mean
rejection rate was 16.2%.
Artifact free and correct trials were averaged separately
for each stimulus type and condition over epochs of
1024 ms starting 100 ms prior to the stimulus. ERPs
from the different conditions were later combined to
yield 4 basic conditions. For all statistical effects involving
two or more degrees of freedom in the numerator, the
Greenhouse-Geisser epsilon was used to correct possible
violations of the sphericity assumption. Exact p-value after
correction will be reported. Tests involving electrode x
condition interactions (e.g., factors as hemisphere or
anterior-posterior electrode location) were carried out on
data corrected using the vector normalization procedure
described by McCarthy and Wood .
LRPs were assessed by using C3 and C4 electrode
locations, where the amplitude of the readiness potential
is maximum . The LRP is computed by a double
subtraction as shown in the following equation:
LRP ¼ left hand C4‐C3
ðÞ‐right hand C4‐C3
Left and right hands refer to the expected correct hand
and (C4 - C3) is the difference in electrical potential
between these electrodes [29-31].
Mean amplitudes and peak latencies were computed
for different time-windows, which were subjected to ana-
lyses of variance (ANOVA) with the factors Product (brand
and no-name), Congruency (congruent and incongruent),
Go/Nogo (Go and Nogo) and Electrode site.
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any
commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential
conflict of interests.
AT Performed the experiments and analyses, wrote first draft of the
manuscript. AH co-designed the experiments, helped in the acquisition
of the data and the statistical analysis. GB contributed to the design and
revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content. TFM
conceived and designed the experiment and wrote the final version of the
manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
We thank Josefine Morgenstern, Joanna Brühl and Jan-Ole Schümann for
their help with data collection. The work was supported by grants from the
DFG and the BMBF to TFM.
1Department of Neuropsychology, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg,
Magdeburg, Germany.2Department of Business Administration, University of
Applied Sciences Jena, Jena, Germany.3Department of Neurology, University
of Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, Lübeck 23538, Germany.4Department of
Psychiatry, University of Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany.
Received: 25 December 2012 Accepted: 12 November 2013
Published: 23 November 2013
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Cite this article as: Thomas et al.: An ERP-study of brand and no-name
products. BMC Neuroscience 2013 14:149.
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