The NeuroU 2021
Online Series

NeuroU began as an in-person event, but we quickly realized that bringing it online can deliver these conversations and resources further beyond our reach in New Jersey, USA! 


Sessions will be brought right into your workspace (wherever it may be) over the course of 3 days to make this our most accessible event yet. Learn more about featured topics in this year's symposium below.


Beyond the Basics

On Day 1 of NeuroU, we will go just beyond the basics of applied consumer neuroscience with sessions covering the concepts of persuasiveness, ethics, technology and brain science in market research. We touch on marketing, behavioral economics frameworks and the impact of consumer neuro-technologies, as well as conclude the day with a discussion on how these tools often fall prey to myths and misconceptions. Our keynote presentation, "Eight Mistakes Persuasive Marketing Makes (and how to avoid them)" by Stephen Genco will open up the event.


Marketing & Communications

On Day 2 of NeuroU, we will take a look back to the beginning when "Neuromarketing" was most often found in communications research. We will cover relevant case studies and insights that demonstrate the value of consumer neuro methodologies in this space, whether you work in advertising/branding, product development/sensory research or even UX. Our keynote presentation for the day is "The Lens of Virtue; How Morality Shapes Our Perceptions and Choices" by Tom Rich.


Sensory & Product Development

On Day 3 of NeuroU, we will cover all things sensory and product experience with a keynote talk and several collaborative case studies featuring the HCD Team. Case studies will cover how tools like Implicit Association Testing, biometrics and traditional sensory research come together to dig deeper and create more interesting stories. Our keynote presentation features Maureen (Mimi) Morrin, Sarah Baskentli and Lauren Block, with "The Serving Temperature Effect: Food Temperature, Expected Satiety, and Complementary Food Purchases".

Check out the 2021 schedule and sessions below to view all that was covered in this online series! Register for On Demand access to available session recordings.

NeuroU 2021
Schedule and Sessions

Eight Mistakes Persuasive Marketing Makes (and how to avoid them)

Steve Genco


For decades, marketers and advertisers have been told that the primary purpose of their craft is to persuade. What if this isn't true? In this talk I describe eight ways persuasion efforts often not only fail to persuade but also may pollute long-term consumer associations with your product or brand. An alternative approach is presented, in which fundamental principles of brain science are leveraged to build more lasting positive associations with current and future customers. Along the way, we will learn that the three main pillars of marketing effectiveness -- attention, emotion, and memory -- all operate in more complex and surprising ways than marketers might expect.


Behavioral Baking: A Framework for Applying Behavioral Economics in Business

Melina Palmer


You've heard of behavioral economics and have gotten excited about the opportunities, but upon starting to apply it did you find yourself asking: Where do I start? If so, you are not alone. This presentation from applied behavioral economist Melina Palmer builds on a simple baking analogy to help the audience follow a "recipe" for beginning to apply behavioral economics into any business or industry. Are you ready for some Behavioral Baking?


Consumer Neurotechnology: Reflecting Back and Looking Forward

Anna Wexler


This talk will showcase the brief history of neurotechnology devices marketed to the general public, followed by a review of recent developments in the consumer neurotechnology space. It will conclude with reasons why we might want to be skeptical of the promises of consumer neurotechnology, as well as the implications of recent developments for neuromarketing.


Neuro Myths Tech Panel

Frazer Findlay, Chris Berka, Bob Granito, Paul Bolls, Bill Thau and Michelle Niedziela


Between the emergence and adoption of tools such as wearables, or advancements in software for AI and analysis technologies as well as data collection, there are a lot of ways to use technology in market research.

 The importance of understanding the basics on all neuroscientific, physiological or behavioral measures is often understated. There are still a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings of what these methodologies and technologies can really do, so we would like to bring them to light in an informal discussion focusing on some of these issues and “neuromyths,” as well as to discuss popular questions we often hear (from research design to choosing the right tool) or other questions from the audience.

The Lens of Virtue; How Morality Shapes Our Perceptions and Choices

Tom Rich

There may be no greater influence on how we see the world and make decisions than morality-- our sense of right and wrong. Marketers and market researchers need to be acutely aware of this. In order to grasp fully the emotional underpinnings of a brand, and to understand the motivations that drive the behaviors of users and consumers, one must understand the underlying moral calculus. What's more, morality is always present in the conversations we have with research participants, but often remains just below the surface. This presentation will provide attendees with a variety of frameworks for understanding moral judgements, and practical advice on how to apply them to research design, execution and analysis in order to provide insights to clients that otherwise would be unavailable.  

Case Study: The Power of Purpose

Andrea List and Allison Gutkowski

A purpose-driven brand is motivated by a core mission. They incorporate their beliefs and values into the very core of their business. In today’s world, there is no shortage of information as brands constantly battle to deliver better products with endless iterations of functional benefits. But if a brand can go beyond function and deliver a higher purpose to the consumer, they are more likely to develop a lasting positive association. 


In this discussion, Porter Novelli will review a case study demonstrating the Power of Purpose in breaking through the noise to establish deep rooted connections and drive key behaviors. By leveraging psychological implicit association testing, along with traditional research methods, we establish the importance of understanding the holistic consumer- rationally, emotionally, and implicitly.


HCD Aha Moments - The Power of Neuro Tools

Amanda Golod and Rachel Horn

Join the HCD analytics team for an overview of various "Aha Moments!" from projects we have conducted that feature neuroscientific, psychological or behavioral tools. This session will include a brief overview of methods and short case studies and anecdotes from several of our projects.

Making a Good Impression: Neuro-driven UX Research

Kathryn Ambroze and Bob Granito

UX (User experience) can influence important user behaviors, including user preference, purchasing decisions, and customer loyalty. Understanding how a user feels while using a product has always been the dream for product developers, allowing them to know which aspects of their product to optimize to create a more user-friendly product. Along with a growing interest in experience-driven design, interest in measuring UX (user experience) has progressively increased. 

For this research, HCD partnered with IVP Research Labs to examine usability for two COVID-19 vaccine scheduling websites using neuro tools. Results suggest that the brain-based measurement method EEG (electroencephalogram) provides a solution to measure not only a website’s performance on key UX metrics, but also the first impression of users and how it drives overall user experience.

The Serving Temperature Effect: Food Temperature, Expected Satiety, and Complementary Food Purchases

Sara Baskentli (Western Washington University), Lauren Block (City University of New York), Maureen Morrin (Rutgers University Camden)

Across a series of studies, including field studies and controlled laboratory experiments, we demonstrate systematic effects of food and beverage serving temperature on consumer behavior. Specifically, we show that foods and beverages served at hotter versus colder temperatures are perceived as having more calories and as being more satiating, which tends to reduce the amount of complementary consumables purchased. Serving temperatures (i.e., cold) that increase complementary purchasing may enhance the firm's bottom line, but could add unnecessary calories to the meal, and thus is of interest to both consumers and managers.

Product Harmony: Leveraging Sensory To Ensure The Product Meets The Promise

Tessa Moxley, Steve Lillford, Rachel Horn

The most powerful competitive advantage a brand has is its unique personality, setting it apart from competitors and distinguishing products to consumers. Understanding the synergistic perceptions of a brand or concept AND a product experience can provide for better business decision making when it comes to both product design and messaging. A mismatch between product experience and brand expectations can lead to challenges to product acceptability, liking, and ultimately a high failure rate of new market introductions, begging the development of new approaches and methodologies that can offer more insightful consumer understanding of synergistic effects.


In this case study presentation, Reckitt Benckiser and HCD will present the research paradigm and findings used to ensure the concept and product perceptions match. Utilizing implicit methodologies to tap into consumer cross-modal associations among different fragrances and concept images, we were able to identify the best fit-to-concept fragrances and ensure cohesive drivers of consumer perception for brand and marketing goals.

Leveraging Online Listening, Creative Consumers, Sensory Methodologies, and Implicit Testing to Unpack a Concept: The Example of Luxury

Ellen Thomas

How does one build a luxurious or premium experience into an everyday product? What are the elements of product design that generate a sense of luxury? Which of those elements should be built into a food, beverage or personal care item to cue luxury? A combination of online, creative consumer tools, and implicit testing can provide answers to those questions. When supplemented with descriptive methods and interpreted with the filter of technical sensory expertise, even richer insights can be uncovered.

Initially with this research, a series of tools and techniques were used to demonstrate the powerful impact of combining social media listening, creative consumer and sensory methodologies to unpack the concept of luxury and provide developers with insights on how to integrate key cues to luxury into everyday products. Implicit techniques were incorporated with consumers for an extension on this research.

This study provides a simple example of how sensory, consumer and implicit methodologies can work hand in hand to uncover rich insights in the innovation stage and lead to targeted development efforts.

Authors: A. Retiveau Krogmann, E. Toronto Doyle, C. Dus, G. Civille, I. Koelliker, E. Thomas, S. Gibbons, Michelle Niedziela, Amanda Golod.