February 22, 2018

Neuro research: when should I use it?

Neuro research: when should I use it?

Needless to say, every Needlefinder is a firm believer of all the good that traditional consumer research has to offer. Sadly, there is one disadvantage: consumers are not always (barely ever, even) aware of the things they do and how they react. Not deliberately, though: it has been proven by Daniel Kahneman that about 95% of our human behavior is driven by our unconscious thoughts. That’s why we need to rethink the way we do research. Enter… implicit measurement techniques like neuro research!

Neuro research ensures unbiased measuring in the moment

Currently, a substantial part of consumer research is done by asking questions. When we are answering questions, we are looking into our own memories to provide an answer. These ‘conscious based answers’ are more prone to biases, which means it’s not the best way to collect data for all research questions. Especially when dealing with either sensitive or taboo topics or for audiovisual stimuli. It’s here where neuro research kicks in. After all, neuro research measures human behavior in the moment, right there where it’s happening. In other words: no time to be biased! Therefore, this type of research is very useful when you want to discover what’s the triggering part of a communication piece, ranging from POS material to audiovisual commercials.

Discover how Unilever used neuro in this case study


A combination of technologies and methodologies


Neuro research is often a combination of different technologies, enabling measurement that researches all senses during exposure to a certain stimulus, whether it’s visual, audible, olfactory… .

  1. The electro-encephalogram (EEG) is a small device that’s put on the head of the respondent. Through carefully placed electrodes, it measures activity within the brain. This way, EEG can easily show whether the respondent (cannot) relate to a certain stimulus, expressing either approach (positive) or avoidance (negative).
  2. The Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) measures changes in the electrical properties of the skin. In other words: GSR measures minor changes in the amount of sweat, which is possibly related to buying behavior.
  3. As an add-on to the neuro equipment, an eye-tracking device measures eye-movement to discover where respondents are looking during exposure to visual stimuli.

The combination of these three technologies makes for a reliable and solid way of knowing what exactly is playing in our unconscious mind. Because output is shown on a timeline, it’s also possible to exactly see which part of a stimulus is particularly triggering.

Now, knowing this is only half the battle. Thanks to the neuro research you know how consumers will react, but you still have no idea about why they react in a certain way. So, when you combine this tool with qualitative research you can reveal the reason behind the reactions you just measured!

In other words: when you ask Haystack to neuro-help you, you conduct hybrid research. You take up a multidisciplinary team that focuses on the essentials to get a clear view on the emotions and the behavior your consumers are experiencing when they get into contact with your brand, product and communication.


Want to know how your company can benefit from neuro research?

Obviously, you do: after all, quantitative neuro research can and will help you get a clear view on real, truthful consumer behavior. Make sure to contact Manon Van Cleven, neuro expert at Haystack, to find out how we help!


Interested in how a neuro set-up looks like? Watch the video below to find out!