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Marketing

Technologies of ironic revelation: enacting consumers in neuromarkets

Professor Steve Woolgar, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

12th Apr 2012  10:00 am - School Building Room 11, Darlington Centre

Neuroscience is increasingly considered a possible basis for new business and management practices. A prominent example of this trend is neuromarketing - a relatively new form of market and consumer research that applies neuroscience to marketing by employing brain imaging or measurement technology to anticipate consumers' response to, for instance, products, packaging or advertising. In this paper, we draw attention to the ways in which certain neuromarketing technologies simultaneously reveal and enact a particular version of the consumer. The revelation is ironic in the sense that it entails the construction of a contrast between what appears to be the case - consumers' accounts of why they prefer certain products over others - and what can be shown to be the case as a result of the application of the technology - the hidden or concealed truth. This contrast structure characterises much of the academic and popular literature on neuromarketing, and helps explain the distribution of accountability relations associated with assessments of its effectiveness.