Welcome

The main theme of my research has been performance monitoring and outcome evaluation: what happens in the brain when we make a mistake, and how does this affect subsequent behaviour? Do we learn from our mistakes? Can we pinpoint patterns of brain activity that predict whether we will or will not learn from our mistakes? I am also interested in how the social context influences how we evaluate our own behaviour: how is it different for you when I tell you that your decision resulted in failure, while your colleague’s decision also resulted in failure, compared to the situation where you have failed, but your colleague succeeded? Are there differences in how the brain processes these situations (in which your objective outcome is the same)? Does it matter if this colleague is your supervisor or your assistant (i.e. how does social status influence these processes)? How do social cues (for example others’ facial expressions) influence how you evaluate your performance? How do hormone-levels, such as oxytocin, testosterone and cortisol, influence how you evaluate actions, both your own and those of others?

Over the last several years I have also become interested in Neuroeconomics, Consumer Neuroscience and Neuromarketing. My main current line of research in these fields focusses on two central questions: can we predict consumer behaviour from brain activity (and do such neural measures add anything to more traditional measures), and do brain measurements reveal additional evaluative information about marketing stimuli (commercials, advertisements), that cannot be obtained through traditional means? We find that it is indeed possible to predict consumer behaviour on the population level from brain data obtained from a limited number of students in our lab, and that these brain-measures increase predictive accuracy of commercial success compared with stated preference measures alone.

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Updated by Maarten Boksem on January 27, 2015 Comments (0)

From the Media

Identifying strong brands in the brain.
Brand managers need to know how consumers perceive their brands. Do consumers actually have the ‘right’ associations with brands as intended by the companies? And are these associations consistent, or are they vastly different across consumers? Until recently, all that brand managers could do to find out, was to trust what consumers told them. But no longer. Researchers Hang-Yee Chan, Maarten Boksem and Ale Smidts from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), literally looked inside people’s heads and discovered that brand image and brand image strength are clearly visible in our brains. Paper
Brain scans reveal what makes a TV advert effective.
What is it about a TV advert that triggers people to find the product online? Scanning consumers’ brains has allowed Linda Couwenberg of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) to discover that a TV advert works best when it both highlights a product’s functional benefits and triggers the viewer’s imagination. This particular combination of elements activates specific parts of the viewer’s brain most intensely, she found, which makes the advert more effective. Paper
Can brain responses to movie trailers predict success?
Decades of research have shown that much of our mental processing occurs at the subconscious level, including the decisions we make as consumers. These subconscious processes explain why we so often fail to accurately predict our own future choices. Often what we "think" we want has little or no bearing on the choices we actually make. Now a new study provides the first evidence that brain measures "can" provide significant added value to models for predicting consumer choice. Paper

Updated by Maarten Boksem on June 20, 2018 Comments (0)