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Our Pleasure Perception Is Tweakable?

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A few articles today have focused on this Stanford and CalTech research that shows the brain tells us that wine taste better if it is more expensive. From CNET,

Specifically, the researchers found that with the higher priced wines, more blood and oxygen is sent to a part of the brain called the medial orbitofrontal cortex, whose activity reflects pleasure. Brain scanning using a method called functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) showed evidence for the researchers’ hypothesis that “changes in the price of a product can influence neural computations associated with experienced pleasantness,” they said.

“Contrary to the basic assumptions of economics, several studies have provided behavioral evidence that marketing actions can successfully affect experienced pleasantness by manipulating nonintrinsic attributes of goods. For example, knowledge of a beer’s ingredients and brand can affect reported taste quality, and the reported enjoyment of a film is influenced by expectations about its quality,” the researchers said. “Even more intriguingly, changing the price at which an energy drink is purchased can influence the ability to solve puzzles.”

If I were still a marketers, I’d be jumping up and down! First, I’d be thankful that the report probably provided me with the ammunition I needed to ask for a budget increase. (half-kidding <g>) But more importantly, I’d be taking stock of what my “nonintrinsic attributes” are, and I’d want to know how they contribute towards the perception of quality and value.


Written by Morris

January 15, 2008 at 12:50 am

Posted in branding, marketing

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