As much as we love our customers, they are often frustratingly imperfect test subjects. Most researchers have struggled with the gap between what consumers are able and willing to share about themselves, and their actual preferences, motivations, and actions. Neuroscience vendors promise to address this gap by providing access to consumers’ unfiltered reactions, without the veil of conscious thought that can obscure true insight.
Much of the recent buzz around neuroscience in market research has centered on expensive brain scans, but if your research budget isn’t quite on par with that of a large university lab, there’s no need to be discouraged. Research functions with fewer resources can still harness the power of neuroscience in more budget-friendly ways. Here are some “neuro-lite” options that utilize what we know about how the brain works in order to access consumers’ subconscious reactions:
- The Implicit Association Test (IAT) relies on the theory that people can make quicker connections between concepts that are already closely tied in their minds.
- The Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET®) is built on the idea that the metaphors that people frequently use in conversation can reveal hidden meaning.
- The Facial Action Coding System (FACS) classifies 46 distinct facial movements to identify consumers’ true emotions. FACS also aids trained observers in catching “microexpressions” that are difficult to fake or conceal and flash across the face only momentarily.
Read about other low-tech neuroscience options, as well as how and when to use them, in the Market Research Executive Board’s new white paper: Using Neuroscience Techniques to Gain Deeper Insight.