Exploring the Consumer´s Mind: Understanding Consumer Choice through Mobile EEG, Mobile Eye Tracking, and Computational Neuroscience

Khalid Nassri

Student thesis: Master thesis


Businesses have always been focused on understanding their customers in order to market their products to their consumers in the best way. Traditionally, the method of asking consumers about their preferences has been accepted as a means to understanding the consumer. This is especially due to neoclassical economic theory, which is built upon the premise that all consumers are rational. However, the newly emerging field of neuromarketing has come to show that individuals are not as rational as previously assumed. Rather, their choice making can be affected by many different factors. Cognitive neuroscience has determined that emotions play a major role in the underlying processes of decision-making, which is a major contrast to the traditional notion of a rational consumer. Consumer decision-making processes are evaluated through several studies with contrasting perspectives about the source of the process. Although these studies have different perspectives, these studies agree that by measuring the relative difference between prefrontal cortex activities, it is possible to determine ‘approach or avoidance’ motivation. This motivation can be translated into purchase behavior, in which stronger approach motivation indicates a decision to purchase. This thesis discusses my study, which employed the use of mobile eye tracking and mobile EEG for an in-store study to measure if motivation can be used as a predictor for product choice. The results confirm that motivation is a significant indicator for subsequent choice. The results also explicate that the amount of time a participant spends looking at a product and the amount of fixations the participant has significantly affects purchase behavior. Through this thesis’ research methodology, businesses will have the opportunity to test the actual effects of their products on their potential consumers; namely, if their product captures the consumer’s attention, leading customers to purchase it. This research can be used by businesses to discover the effects of store setup, or by product manufacturers to get unconscious, and therefore unbiased, information from potential customers. Ultimately, this research can help create products that capture consumers’ attention better, thereby increasing the companies’ awareness.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Management Science, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages117