Using EEG to examine the role of attention, working memory, emotion, and imagination in narrative transportation

Ross Gordon (Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Australia)
Joseph Ciorciari (Department of Psychological Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia)
Tom van Laer (Cass Business School, University of London, London, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Publication date: 12 February 2018

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present a study using encephalography (EEG) to investigate consumer responses to narrative videos in energy efficiency social marketing. The purpose is to assess the role of attention, working memory, emotion and imagination in narrative transportation, and how these stages of narrative transportation are ordered temporally.

Design/methodology/approach

Consumers took part in an EEG experiment during which they were shown four different narrative videos to identify brain response during specific video segments.

Findings

The study found that during the opening segment of the videos, attention, working memory and emotion were high before attenuating with some introspection at the end of this segment. During the story segment of the videos attention, working memory and emotion were also high, with attention decreasing later on but working memory, emotion and imagination being evident. Consumer responses to each of the four videos differed.

Practical implications

The study suggests that narratives can be a useful approach in energy efficiency social marketing. Specifically, marketers should attempt to gain focused attention and invoke emotional responses, working memory and imagination to help consumers become narratively transported. The fit between story object and story-receiver should also be considered when creating consumer narratives.

Social implications

Policymakers and organisations that wish to promote pro-social behaviours such as using energy efficiently or eating healthily should consider using narratives.

Originality/value

This research contributes to theory by identifying brain response relating to attention, working memory, emotion and imagination during specific stages of narrative transportation. The study considers the role of attention, emotion, working memory and imagination during reception of stories with different objects, and how these may relate to consumers’ narrative transportation.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper forms part of a special section on Neuromarketing.

Citation

Gordon, R., Ciorciari, J. and van Laer, T. (2018), "Using EEG to examine the role of attention, working memory, emotion, and imagination in narrative transportation", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 52 No. 1/2, pp. 92-117. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-12-2016-0881

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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