Brain of the Consumer, Spring 2011 course


We are pleased to announce the following marketing course, The Brain of the Consumer, being taught this Spring 2011 semester by professor Leon Zurawicki.
See below for information on how to find and register for this course, and a course description from Professor Zurawicki that follows.
To find this course:
Once in Wiser, go to “search for course”
Term: Spring  2011
Course Subject: MBAMKT
Course Number: 697
Currently the course is listed as “MBAMKT 697 – Special Topics”
Topic: The Brain of the Consumer
The course Section is: 12626
Instructor : Leon Zurawicki
(please note if it says staff, Leon Zurawicki is in fact the instructor teaching this course)
Course Description
Advances in medical technology during the last 15 years made it possible to study with a far greater accuracy the nervous system in the humans and, in that context, prompted the research on the neural bases of feeling, thinking, and decision-making and behavior.    That research helped to establish that people’s perception of the world, of other people, products and communications about them is, on occasion, flawed with the sensory illusions and the imperfect mental processing. This highlights the purpose of the neuromarketing which not only describes the less publicized phenomena in buying and consumption activities (for example, the commonality of senses) but also helps explain them with the knowledge of neuronal processes.  Since Gerald Zaltman and Stephen Kosslyn of Harvard University first patented (in 2000) the neuroimaging method to gauge the impact of marketing signals on consumer emotions, preferences and memories, more and more attention has been paid to the intrinsic biological conditionings of consumer behavior.  This is what comprises the essence of neuromarketing.  In addition, neuroscience provides compelling evidence with which to revisit the emotional side of consumption, its pleasure-seeking aspect and related desires.  Even if difficult to accept, understanding that the irrational component of the consumers’ judgments and behavior is not a deviation from a norm but rather the norm, bears important theoretical implications. Further, in view of the recent research it stands to reason that not only are human beings hard-wired to subconsciously and consciously react in a certain fashion but also that the differences in the neuroanatomy and physiology account for significant lasting differences in the individual decision-making and buying styles.  The course will demonstrate how the emotions and rationality work in tandem rather than in opposition to each other and through the mutual influence shape the natural setting for choosing and enjoying the consumption rewards.
As most of the findings concentrate on the functioning of the brain—the command center of people’s activity–the appropriate title for this course is “The Brain of the Consumer.” At the same time, the course draws on studies which rely on monitoring the physiological expressions of emotions, facial representations and the eye tracking technique. It will be shown that the choice of the most suitable method of analysis is a function of the specificity of the marketing problem at hand, the degree of precision sought and the budgetary limitations.
The objective of the course is NOT to rehash the traditional discourse of buyer behavior based on the psycho/sociological approach but rather to introduce the students to the most recent observations explaining how the consumers act in response to the personal and situational factors as manifested through the neurobiological reactions.  Understanding whether and why people act in not-so-rational way as theoretically assumed is very important for developing a realistic perspective on various marketing phenomena. Early in the semester, the students will briefly review the existing psycho-sociological concepts typically featured in the marketing textbooks.  Against this backdrop, the course offers an account of the findings from the neuroscience which address the individual and family consumption decisions.  Importantly, the teaching materials provide practical examples of how this body of knowledge helps marketers improve the processes to develop, design, market, sell and deliver products to their customers.
Yet, the emphasis is not only on how to assist the marketing managers in their task but also to highlight the issues pertaining to self-discipline which contributes to better decisions made by the consumers.
The following book will be used as a basic material supported by several videos and readings distributed by the instructor.
Zurawicki, Leon (2010), Neuromarketing. Exploring the Brain of the Consumer, Springer, ISBN: 978-3-540-77828-8.

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