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Understanding the consumer is always a challenge and neuroscience opens new opportunities to shed some light by studying the human brain. Consumer neuroscience brings to the table the possibility to assess the presence and valence of consumers’ responses to different stimuli in order to create and shape better products and services for them.

This November marked the release of Consumer Neuroscience, a textbook published by The MIT Press and edited by Moran Cerf and Manuel GarciaGarcia, with contributions from 30 industry leaders, both academics and practitioners. They combine their points of view concerning scientific rigor and applicability in order to open the black box of neuroscience tools that aim to shape consumer insights.

The book begins the journey with an overview and history of consumer neuroscience and of the systems, mechanisms and keywords that need to be understood along the way. It even provides key points that will help you evaluate a consumer neuroscience vendor, offering a checklist to be used. The authors continue by discussing the capabilities and challenges of the tools employed by marketers to study the consumer brain, offering the reader a deep understanding of the multiple options and assessments. The following chapters explore how memory works, how events are coded and how neuroscience is able to identify what affects it, but also how emotions are measured through valence and arousal. Decision-making is another hot topic through the theories it proposes for understanding the factors that influence it, with a particular interest in purchase decisions. The book continues by bringing an interesting perspective on the cognitive processes that underlie how consumers perceive and respond to pricing. Another important discussion concerns how all the methods, tools and techniques presented should be used to make better predictions about future behavior of consumers, also taking into consideration the ethical issues raised in society.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter that presents the brain as a “big data” analytics tool, as I think the future will belong to those who use machine learning algorithms in order to understand how we think. This subject should be the direction to follow in future years. The book proposes discussion questions that challenge the reader to discover more about these topics.

Consumer Neuroscience is a book that should belong on the shelves of us all, as each of the 16 chapters discusses the hot topics in neuromarketing and presents a wide variety of case studies, examples and key takeaways that could help any marketer, on diff erent levels of interest. Whether you have no knowledge of neuroscience, are a student, or a professional, you will enjoy the journey of reading this book, as it will carry you to an understanding of the tools, techniques, options and
opportunities in this field.

Consumer Neuroscience Edited by Moran Cerf and Manuel Garcia-Garcia Foreword by Philip Kotler
Reviewed by Monica Diana Olteanu