Preference Inferences from Eye-Related Cues in Sales-Consumer Settings

Past physiological evidence, indicates that inferences on the mind of another person (i.e., goals, intentions, beliefs), is a well-defined brain process characterized by specific temporal and spatial properties. This study investigated brain responses during passive viewing (consumers’ role) of branded products (i.e., chocolates, chips, non alcoholic beverages) and preference inferences (sales consultants’ role) from eye-related information. Using EEG methods, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while participants passively viewed pictures of branded products versus when they tried to infer others’ product preferences from eye-related information. ERP amplitudes were examined in two time windows, corresponding to the P3 component and the late positive potential (LPP). Dissimilar brain responses were found for preference inferences compared to passively viewingfor the P3 and LPPcomponents. P3 and LPP amplitudes were greater for preference inferences compared to passive viewing. In addition, enhance P3 and LPP amplitudes were found for preference inferences compared to passive viewing for the High Inferring Performance (HI) as opposed to the Low Inferring Performance (LI) group. Finally, enhanced posterior P3 and LPP amplitudes were found for preference inferences compared to passive viewing for the GG as opposed to the A-allele carrier individuals of oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene. Taken together, the results suggest that posteriorP3 and LPP amplitude during preference inferences from eye-related cues as opposed to passive viewing of branded products reflects increased socially motivated attention allocation required for the social inferring task, for the GG compared to A-allele carrier individuals.

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