Neural correlates of consumer buying motivations: A 7T functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study

Academic Article


  • Consumer buying motivations can be distinguished into three categories: functional, experiential, or symbolic motivations (Keller, 1993). Although prior neuroimaging studies have examined the neural substrates which enable these motivations, direct comparisons between these three types of consumer motivations have yet to be made. In the current study, we used 7 Tesla (7T) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to assess the neural correlates of each motivation by instructing participants to view common consumer goods while emphasizing either functional, experiential, or symbolic values of these products. The results demonstrated mostly consistent activations between symbolic and experiential motivations. Although, these motivations differed in that symbolic motivation was associated with medial frontal gyrus (MFG) activation, whereas experiential motivation was associated with posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) activation. Functional motivation was associated with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) activation, as compared to other motivations. These findings provide a neural basis for how symbolic and experiential motivations may be similar, yet different in subtle ways. Furthermore, the dissociation of functional motivation within the DLPFC supports the notion that this motivation relies on executive function processes relatively more than hedonic motivation. These findings provide a better understanding of the underlying neural functioning which may contribute to poor self-control choices.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Goodman AM; Wang Y; Kwon WS; Byun SE; Katz JS; Deshpande G
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • SEP