NeuroStandards Collaboration
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NeuroStandards Collaboration


In the past few years, a wide range of biometric and neuro-scientific methods are increasingly finding application in media, marketing, and advertising research. Advertisers and media providers are clearly excited by the prospects associated with using new tools to better understand the emotional drivers of their content through methods that transcend verbally-dependent response data.

Because of the promise of these new approaches, we have seen a large increase in vendors employing such methods as well as an increase in the kind methods and analysis techniques used in studies. This has led to a problem for marketers: given the complexity of the science underlying these methods it is difficult for marketers to decide which approach is best for their objectives. Moreover, despite the promise, there are still substantive questions associated with the use of these methods. Vendors often make strong claims about their new measures and methods but they have not published in peer-reviewed journals examined by independent experts. This makes it difficult – even for those familiar with the science – to properly evaluate the claims of such vendors.

Therefore, if neuroscientists, collectively, lack access to sufficient data to evaluate a vendor's claims, how much more challenging is it for advertising or media researchers who lack expertise in the neuroscience domain? To date, no major validation studies have been conducted to properly assess the measures and methods as they apply to the media domain. Also, as said, different vendors use different techniques and it is unclear in some cases what science is being used, whether it is appropriate to the problem being addressed, and if so, whether it is being applied soundly. In short, media, marketing, and advertising researchers need more and better information to evaluate the opportunities that these new methods offer.

Engagement 3: NeuroStandards Collaboration is designed provide this information. It will add transparency to the growing landscape of 'neuro-methods'. In effect, the project presents an open invitation to all vendors in the neuroscience space to submit their work for critical peer scrutiny. All such suppliers will be provided with a common reel of program segments and ads contributed by 'Gold Level' supporters of the project. They will then be asked to develop reports typical of those they provide clients. An Expert Review Panel, assisted by a team of Expert Reviewers, featuring leading independent neuroscientists and psychophysiologists, will review these reports, examine the findings, and critique the science.

Participating Research Suppliers / Methodologies

To date, seven (7) research suppliers from across three continents have agree to take part in the study incorporating a wide range of biologically-based methods including facial coding, biometrics, EEG, QEEG, SST and fMRI. To the best of our knowledge, all but two suppliers globally are participating in the study.

Gallup and Robinson
Gallup and Robinson's Continuous Emotional Response Analysis (CERA) is a state-of-the-art system that uses facial electromyography (fEMG) and other measures to assess emotional valence on a continuous basis. Based in Pennington, New Jersey, G&R does online and real-world traditional copy testing as well.

Innerscope has developed a wireless vest and proprietary software to measure and analyze audience engagement with media content using a range of biometric measures. Innerscope is based in Boston, MA and led by Dr. Carl Marci.

LABoratory & Co uses EEG and biometric measures for testing marketing communication and brand analysis at the unconscious level. With R&D operations based in Poland, it is led by Dr. Rafal Ohme. In the United States LAB collaborates with MSW Research.

Mindlab International
Mindlab International is based in Sussex, UK and led by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson. Their method relies on a variety of research tools including Quantified Electro-Encephalography (QEEG) to explore brain activity associated with media content.

NeuroCompass relies on advanced fMRI technology and proprietary algorithms to predict consumer preference. It is based in Palo Alto, California.

Neuro-Insight is based in Melbourne, Australia and led by Dr. Richard Silberstein. Neuro-Insight uses a patented modification of EEG technology using a helmet and visor-based system called Steady-State Topography.

Sands Research
Sands Research is based in El Paso, Texas and led by Dr. Steve Sands. Sands Research is a fully vertically integrated research firm who have developed their own end-to-end hardware and software solutions for EEG research.

Sensory Logic
Sensory Logic is based in Minneapolis and led by Dan Hill. Their method relies on a combination of research tools including eye gaze and facial coding to build emotional profiles responses to media and marketing communication.

Gold Level Sponsors


Silver Sponsors


Research Timeline

The project will take place over a six month period, following its launch on September 28th during AdWeek 2010. Following the project launch, Research Suppliers will collect and analyze data and develop reports which will be submitted to the Review Panel by December 1st, 2010. A panel of Expert Reviewers will assist the Review Panel in evaluating all submissions, an interactive process that will involve continuing dialog with each of the Research Suppliers. In mid-January, 2011, the Review Panel will meet at a research retreat to finalize their interim report. Copies of the Interim Report will be sent to Suppliers for their comment and response – with a final report prepared by the Review Panel by the end of February, 2011. The final report will be distributed at the ARF 75th Annual conference in late March, 2011.

Review Process

All Research Suppliers (Vendors) will submit their reports, following their data collection and analysis, to the Review Panel by December 1, 2010. The Review Panel will be composed of five or six leading global experts who will be supported by a team of Expert Reviewers, with significant reputations as leading experts in each of the relevant bodies of research. The Review Panel will allocate copies of these reports to expert reviewers in each of the various fields of expertise and incorporate such reviews in their overall analysis of the various submissions. As noted earlier, the nature of the review process will be interactive, with continuing dialog with each of the research suppliers. An interim report will be developed following a research retreat. The final report will consider the response of suppliers to the various issues raised through the review process. All Suppliers will also have a right of reply that will be published as part of the final report.

Review Panel

Patrick Barwise
Patrick Barwise is Emeritus Professor of Management and Marketing at London Business School and chairman of Which?, the UK's leading consumer organization. He joined LBS in 1976 after an early career at IBM. He has a wide range of interests in management, marketing, media, and research methods. His book Simply Better, co-authored with Seán Meehan (IMD), won the 2005 Berry-AMA Book Prize for the best recent book on marketing; their next book, Beyond the Familiar, will be published in March 2011.

Christopher F. Chabris
Christopher F. Chabris received his B.A. in computer science and his Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University, where he was also a Lecturer and Research Associate for many years. He is now Assistant Professor of Psychology at Union College in Schenectady, New York, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurology at Albany Medical College, and a Research Affiliate at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. His research focuses on two main areas: how people differ from one another in mental abilities and patterns of behavior, and how cognitive illusions affect our decisions. He has published papers on a diverse array of topics, including human intelligence, beauty and the brain, face recognition, the Mozart effect, group performance, and visual cognition. Chris writes occasionally for the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers, and he is also a chess master and poker amateur.

Annie Lang (Ph.D. University of Wisconsin at Madison) is a professor of Telecommunications and Cognitive Science at Indiana University. Her research seeks to explain how people process mediated messages. To date this work has produced a general data-driven model of mediated message processing called the Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediated Message Processing. Over the last 20 years this research has resulted in over 100 academic publications and been supported by almost 3 million dollars in grants. She is currently serving as editor of the journal Media Psychology and is a Fellow of the International Communication Association.

Peter J. Lang
Peter J. Lang is Graduate Research Professor in the Departments of Clinical and Health Psychology, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience, and Director of the multi-site NIMH Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention, headquartered at the University of Florida. He formerly held the Clark Leonard Hull Chair in Psychology at the University of Wisconsin. Professor Lang has received Distinguished Scientist awards from the Society for Psychophysiological Research and from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, and was given the American Psychological Associations highest award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions. He has received four honorary doctorates-- from the Universities of Uppsala, Sweden; Granada, Spain; Tübingen, Germany; Jaumé 1, Spain.

Horst Stipp
Horst Stipp was Sen. Vice President, Strategic Insights & Innovation in the Research department of NBC Universal in New York where he oversaw strategic marketing and consumer research for NBCU's TV networks as well as the new digital platforms. Stipp received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University and has been involved in media research for over 30 years. His publications, in English and German, cover a wide range of topics. Recently, he has written in journals and contributed to books on the development of the media in the digital age and he has presented on these topics at conferences in the US and in Europe. Since 2000, he has been teaching a seminar on media metrics at Columbia University's Business School. He joined the ARF as EVP of Global Business Strategy in 2011.

René Weber
René Weber is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Cognitive Science Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds a Ph.D. in Media Psychology, an M.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience, and BA/MA degrees in Communication and Business Administration. Prior to his academic appointments he worked as consultant for media entertainment in the US and in Europe. In his recent research he focuses on cognitive responses to mass communication and new technology media messages, including video games. He develops and applies both traditional social scientific and neuroscientific methodology (fMRI) to test media related theories. His research has been published in major communication and neuroscience journals.

Read the latest about The ARF Inaugural NeuroStandards Retreat!

Read the post-Re:think update on NeuroStandards.

For more information

Please contact Horst Stipp  to learn more about how you can get involved!

Journal of Advertising Research

What We Know About Peer-to-Peer Marketing
June 2014, Vol. 54, No. 2

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