NEW YORK: As informative as neuromarketing techniques might be in terms of providing insights into the emotional response to advertising, they become even more useful when combined with traditional measurement tools, a study has argued.

Decoding Neural Responses to Emotion in Television Commercials: An Integrative Study of Self-Reporting and fMRI Measures, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR), takes a measured view of neuroscience in marketing, proposing an integrative procedure combining a visual self-reporting scale with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine the emotional response to television commercials.

As Feng Shen (Saint Joseph's University) and Jon D. Morris (University of Florida) write, "Consumers are overwhelmed by the number of advertising messages available. Although many of the messages broadcast in the media or distributed online may be tested for their emotional impact, it is difficult to determine if the measurement is accurate.

"It is clear from previous research and experience that emotions are important for creating positive and involving messages. In addition, these feelings, generated by advertising, can be transferred to brands. Therefore, one area that requires substantial improvement is how emotional response to advertising is measured in the brain.

"Several researchers," they continue, "hold a competitive view of emotion measurement and argue that physiological techniques are superior to self-reporting techniques but now there is evidence that these two approaches are not mutually exclusive."

To study compatibility, the authors used self-reporting scores to identify emotional dimensions in advertising and fMRI to track brain responses to these emotional dimensions.

Their conclusion: "Neither of the two types of measures need to be inherently better than the other. They are just used for different purposes and in different situations."

"Decoding Neural Responses to Emotion in Television Commercials: An Integrative Study of Self-Reporting and fMRI Measures" appears as part of a special "How Neurological Measures Work in Advertising" section in the latest issue of JAR.

Data sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by Warc staff