Can you run studies outside Germany?
Yes. Our EEG laboratory is fully portable. We can be ready to record anywhere in the world within 24 hours. Also, there are no additional costs for the client apart from travel costs. Regarding studies which involve the use of fMRI scanner, we have access to fMRI brain scan facilities all over the world. Please contact us and we will make arrangements to find a local partner.
Which EEG recording system do you use?
As neuroscientists, we understand how important the quality of the recorded data is to achieve solid, statistically significant results. To that end, we use state-of-the-art Biosemi recording equipment. They are used in the best research centers and universities world-wide (Biosemi – users). In 2013, 763 publications in journals were conducted with the Biosemi system. Our system records brain activity from 64 different locations at a sampling rate of up to 8 KHz.
Is it unsafe to scan people brains?
Scanning people’s brain using EEG is completely safe, non-invasive and painless. Our recording system runs on batteries, so there is not connection with the supply power. Also it is very comfortable for the subjects to wear. An fMRI scan is also a safe, non-invasive and completely painless procedure and it does not involve any radiation. As the MRI scanner uses a strong magnetic field, before the scan, people are asked to empty their pockets and remove any clothing containing metal such as a belt. This is because the only potential hazard comes from loose metal objects, which, if taken near the scanner, could be dangerous. Our highly trained and experienced technicians conduct a screening questionnaire before the scan to ensure safety of the participant. Safety is always a priority for us and scanning hundreds of subjects we have never experienced any problem or compliant, just like any state-of-the art academic fMRI research lab. Both scanning techniques cause no known short or long term damage to tissue.
Why don't you use a "dry" EEG recording system?
At The Neuromarketing Labs is our priority to be always up to date with the latest technologies. We are aware of the many dry EEG recording systems in existence. We have tested some of them in our laboratory and have found the performance not to match our standards currently. We do believe such systems will be able to record excellent brain data in the near future, but at the moment we prefer a 'wet' system which uses a few drops of conductive gel at the electrode/skin interface. There are two reasons for our preference: (1) the data recorded is of very high quality and (2) such systems are more comfortable for test subjects to wear since there is no direct contact between the electrode and the skin.
Why don't you cut costs using a cheaper recording system like Emotiv?
Despite the fact that our Biosemi system costs roughly 40 times more than an Emotiv, we consciously decided not to use Emotiv for several reasons:
(1) the highest sampling rate achievable with Emotiv is 128 Hz (8000 Hz for Biosemi)
(2) the bandwidth is 0.2 – 45 Hz which is not sufficient for our market research purposes
(3) it can record only from 14 brain locations (64 for Biosemi) which do not cover at all central and parietal brain areas which are of high interest for marketing research purposes. Our standard is to deliver the highest scientific data quality and to predict population behavior above and beyond other methods available. To that end, we use the best equipment. Finally, the quality of recorded data from an Emotiv device is questioned by the majority of the scientific community.
Do customers agree to get scanned for marketing purposes?
Yes! Not only it is easy to recruit customers but we found out that they are very curious regarding Neuromarketing techniques and usually ask many questions. They love to see their brain activity on screen. Also, from our experience, after the first time they get scanned, most subjects are eager to come back to get scanned again for other studies. Our database allows us to recruit customers which match with the target group specified by a client. For highly selective subject groups, we resort to our network in the market research community, allowing us to recruit very narrowly defined samples. We have recruited samples from populations as small as 200 individually specified persons (e.g. specific physicians scanned for pharmaceutical marketing research).
How many customers do you scan per research on average?
The number of customers scanned is a crucial figure to deliver statistically significant and reliable results to our clients which is always our priority. The Neuromarketing Labs team consists of well-respected neuroscientists and neuroengineers with a solid background in Mathematics and Statistics. From our expertise in the field and several preparatory studies we know that brain scans of 25 up to 40 subjects (depending on technology and question) provide significant results which predict the behavior of a much bigger population. This demonstrates that high quality data surpasses high quantity data manyfold. If you need more information, please feel free to contact us.
Can such a sample predict the behavior of the entire population?
The answer is a straightforward: YES, if you use brain scans instead of questionnaires, as proven by many recent scientific studies. Here we refer to 2 in particular: a study from G. Berns published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology (2011) and the “Latte macchiato study” conducted by The Neuromarketing Labs in 2013. The Berns study was conducted in the USA and proved that brain scans of 27 teenagers were able to predict the market success (sales) of pop songs across the entireUS-population while questionnaire results did not correlate with sales. The latte macchiato study showed that brain scans of 35 college students could predict the buying behavior of the entire college population much better that self-reports.
Why do you scan consumer brains in the laboratory rather than in the field?
The reason why we record in the laboratory is that it is a fully-controlled environment. Running studies in a controlled environment is a must as it is the only way to avoid contamination from uncontrolled variables that may affect the outcome of a study. If we ran an experiment in the field (e.g. in a shop) a number of different variables may affect the results: the smell/scent inside the room, the appearance of the seller, the temperature, the lighting and so on. In our laboratory, we can have all these parameters under full control or account for them accurately. Instead, in the lab we manipulate only the variable of interest (e.g. TV ad or price), which allows us to pinpoint the effect of your marketing much better than in uncontrolled settings. Interestingly, without exception, all great discoveries of neuroscience and all successful predictions of real-world behavior using neural data stem from well-controlled laboratory research.
Are there differences among brains from different countries?
No. The functioning of the brain does not change according to nationality. What can change is the cultural background. For example, nationality can affect the willingness-to-pay as prices for goods are different among different countries. Therefore, if you need to know the willingness-to-pay for a bag of chips in country X, it may be important to scan consumers in country X.
What are your quality control processes for brain data collection?
Our core science and technology team is well versed in the various tools for collecting brain data. Only experienced neuroscientists or laboratory technicians collect data. The data is meticulously screened for high quality by algorithms and by neural data experts.
Are the business measures you provide (e.g. predicting purchase intent) validated in the field?
Our entire business philosophy is based on validating our approaches with large field data. Our algorithm measuring willingness-to-pay was validated in a big study testing the true demand curve behavior of 150 students. Our Neurensics fMRI analysis algorithms testing advertisements have been successfully benchmarked using real-world success of ads. When we claim that we apply excellent methods, it‘s up to us to prove it!
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