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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

An ERP-study of brand and no-name products

Anika Thomas12, Anke Hammer34, Gabriele Beibst2 and Thomas F Münte3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neuropsychology, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany

2 Department of Business Administration, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Jena, Germany

3 Department of Neurology, University of Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, Lübeck 23538, Germany

4 Department of Psychiatry, University of Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany

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BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:149  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-14-149

Published: 23 November 2013

Abstract

Background

Brands create product personalities that are thought to affect consumer decisions. Here we assessed, using the Go/No-go Association Task (GNAT) from social psychology, whether brands as opposed to no-name products are associated with implicit positive attitudes. Healthy young German participants viewed series of photos of cosmetics and food items (half of them brands) intermixed with positive and negative words. In any given run, one category of goods (e.g., cosmetics) and one kind of words (e.g., positive) had to be responded to, whereas responses had to be withheld for the other categories. Event-related brain potentials were recorded during the task.

Results

Unexpectedly, there were no response-time differences between congruent (brand and positive words) and incongruent (brand and negative words) pairings but ERPs showed differences as a function of congruency in the 600–750 ms time-window hinting at the existence of implicit attitudes towards brand and no-name stimuli. This finding deserves further investigation in future studies. Moreover, the amplitude of the late positive component (LPC) was found to be enhanced for brand as opposed to no-name stimuli.

Conclusions

Congruency effects suggest that ERPs are sensitive to implicit attitudes. Moreover, the results for the LPC imply that pictures of brand products are more arousing than those of no-name products, which may ultimately contribute to consumer decisions.

Keywords:
Go/Nogo; Event-related potentials; Brands; Neuromarketing; Implicit associations; Late positive component; Lateralized readiness potential