Title

Examining consumers’ sensory experiences with color: A consumer neuroscience approach

Publication Date

7-1-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

Marketing and Business Analytics

Publication Title

Psychology and Marketing

Volume

37

Issue

7

DOI

10.1002/mar.21360

First Page

995

Last Page

1007

Abstract

This research advances neuroscience as a tool with which to study consumers’ visual mental imagery. Applying these methods, we suggest that the presence or absence of color is a critical dimension along which consumers’ visualizations can vary, and explore when and why color of visual mental imagery becomes more prominent. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we find neural evidence for distinguishing black-and-white (BW) versus color visualization, and that visual mental imagery becomes increasingly monochrome (vs. colorful) when consumers imagine distant (vs. near) future events. Our neural evidence further suggests construal level as the underlying mechanism of this effect, showing common regions of activation for imagining distant future events, engaging in high-level construal, and forming BW mental imagery. We discuss the implication of these findings and the benefits of fMRI techniques for marketing in general.

Keywords

color, construal-level theory, mental imagery, neuroscience, sensory experience

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