Neuroethics Publications

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

5-2012

Publication Source

Psychological Science

Volume

23

Issue

5

Start Page

439

Last Page

445

DOI

10.1177/0956797611434964

Abstract

Can neural responses of a small group of individuals predict the behavior of large-scale populations? In this investigation, brain activations were recorded while smokers viewed three different television campaigns promoting the National Cancer Institute’s telephone hotline to help smokers quit (1-800-QUIT-NOW). The smokers also provided self-report predictions of the campaigns’ relative effectiveness. Population measures of the success of each campaign were computed by comparing call volume to 1-800-QUIT-NOW in the month before and the month after the launch of each campaign. This approach allowed us to directly compare the predictive value of self-reports with neural predictors of message effectiveness. Neural activity in a medial prefrontal region of interest, previously associated with individual behavior change, predicted the population response, whereas self-report judgments did not. This finding suggests a novel way of connecting neural signals to population responses that has not been previously demonstrated and provides information that may be difficult to obtain otherwise.

Copyright/Permission Statement

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the journal, Psychological Science, 23/5, 2012, © by SAGE Publications, Inc. at the page: http://pss.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/

Comments

At the time of publication, author Emily B. Falk was affiliated with the University of Michigan. Currently, she is a faculty member at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Keywords

mass media, neuroimaging, health, cognitive neuroscience, neuromarketing, health communication, smoking

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Date Posted: 16 February 2015

This document has been peer reviewed.