Neuroeconomics and Shopping: Don’t Ask the Person, Ask the Brain

Neuroeconomics and Shopping: Don’t Ask the Person, Ask the Brain

There’s a saying in neuroscience: “Don’t ask the person, ask the brain!” What does this mean in practice? And how does it affect the way we shop? Colin Camerer, a behavioral economist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), dives into his research on this question.

“Hypothetical bias” (AKA cheap talk) is the difference between what people SAY they'll do and what they ACTUALLY do. For example, in a survey, 70% of people might say they'll buy a product—even if only 45% actually do.

Camerer and his colleagues use brain imaging and eye-tracking to account for hypothetical bias and predict real-life shopping behavior.

This video is based on the following papers:

Differences in Behavior and Brain Activity During Hypothetical and Real Choices by Colin Camerer and Dean Mobbs.

When the eyes say buy: visual fixations during hypothetical consumer choice improve prediction of actual purchases by Taisuke Imai, Min Jeong Kang & Colin F. Camerer.

More of Colin Camerer’s work:

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Marginal Revolution University
Economists in the Wild
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