Tuesday, September 13, 2005


The Brand and the Brain:
What science is telling us about consumer behavior

Recently a team at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas studied the brain scans of 67 individuals who were asked to do blind taste tests of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Participants were split virtually 50/50 over which soft drink tasted better. But when the same people were tested again and told which brand of soft drink they were drinking, 75% said they preferred Coca-Cola.

Coke vs. Pepsi
Why did the test subjects change their opinion? Why would they be split 50/50 in blind taste tests, but prefer Coca-Cola three to one in the non-blind test? Because two different parts of the brain control taste preference and brand preference. During blind taste tests, something called the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex lights up, which helps drive sensory preferences such as taste. But when consumers know which brand they’re drinking, the medial prefrontal cortex lights up, which helps drive brand preference.

In other words, because of Coke’s brand image, about 75% of the population think they prefer Coke over Pepsi even though blind taste tests show that only about 50% do...


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