Neuroscience researchers must apply a new level of rigour to their work if the discipline is to reach its full potential in marketing, according to a paper in the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR).

Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy, CEO/founder at consultancy Neurons, Inc. and part of the faculty at the Singularity University in Santa Clara, California, discussed this topic in an article entitled, Building a foundation for neuromarketing and consumer neuroscience research: How researchers can apply academic rigor to the neuroscientific study of advertising effects.

Consumer neuroscience and neuromarketing, he argued, have been the subject of considerable hype in recent years, but undeniable problems remain.

There has been a “fragmentation” of academic research and, often, a “subpar publication level”, he warned, as well as a lack of validation of metrics, and a frequent “overpromising and underdelivering” on the industry-side of the discipline.

One recommendation is to distinguish between “basic” research, which aims to improve theories and models around a set of phenomena, “translational” research, which uses these insights in actual advertising, and “applied” research that tries to solve a practical problem.

Another proposal from Zoëga Ramsøy involves terminology: “Second, researchers need to clear the conceptual confusion that this field is littered with,” he said.

“A full nomenclature of consumer neuroscience and neuromarketing is needed, and proper definitions should be made and followed by the industry.”

Zoëga Ramsøy’s third suggestion reads as follows: “Finally, researchers need to have a rigorous means of ensuring the validity of neurometric approaches and measures.

“Independent research would be the gold standard, although other standards are also acceptable, such as publication in esteemed peer-reviewed science journals.

“The Advertising Research Foundation is continuing efforts to raise standards and quality in all research, including neuroscience.”

Such endeavours would mark a first step, but they are only the beginning of the journey. “These three steps in no way are to be seen as sufficient to create a valid neuromarketing and consumer neuroscience discipline.”

Industry bodies should use their “organizational leverage” to drive progress, he suggested, and further efforts are required to improve standards in relevant publications.

“Researchers and practitioners alike should strive toward lifting the quality of the papers accepted to the highest available publication standards,” Zoëga Ramsøy wrote.

Sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by WARC staff