Angelika Dimoka’s job is to get inside your head.
As the director of the Center for Neural Decision Making at the Fox School of Business, Dimoka finds how you make the choices you do—and she does not need to ask you.
Instead, she looks to the human body for answers.
A trained biomedical engineer and neuroscientist, Dimoka came to the Fox School in 2008 to study how people make decisions. From air traffic controllers to victims of traumatic brain injuries to average consumers, Dimoka and her colleagues investigate—and predict—our everyday choices.
Getting inside your head
In 2008, Dimoka established the Center for Neural Decision Making, the first neuroscience center located within a business school, and currently the largest such center in the country.
“[The Center’s goal] is to provide a more objective understanding of the driving forces of a subject’s decision making,” says Dimoka, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Marketing. In the past, researchers have had to rely on self-reported data, asking consumers why they choose this product or made that decision. This, however, left room for error, as perhaps the consumer could not—or would not—divulge the true reason for their decision.
Today, with state-of-the-art tools like eye tracking machines, heart rate monitors, and MRI scanners, the Center’s research eliminates the subjective bias of decision-making research. “We don’t have to ask the subject anymore,” says Dimoka. “We can observe their physiological state.”
Dimoka and her colleagues, Vinod Venkatraman and Crystal Reeck, assistant professors of marketing, use these tools to study the body’s responses in experiments like the ability to recall print ads versus digital ads.
“With eye trackers, we can observe where the subject is looking at any given point,” says Dimoka, allowing the researcher to understand exactly what information the subject is taking in at what time. Heart rate monitors, skin conductors, and breathing monitors analyze the person’s emotional state—whether you sweat more, breath heavier, or have a faster heartbeat when making a decision.
What the brain reveals
The Center also has a new functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, brought to campus this fall in partnership with the College of Liberal Art’s Department of Psychology and with support from the National Science Foundation. “The fMRI scanners show us the brain’s functionality,” Dimoka says. “We can put people in the scanner and observe how their brains function when they make decisions.”
The areas of the brain that activate during different activities can reveal how consumers take in information and make decisions. Consider what happens when a person looks at a physical advertisement versus a digital advertisement. In a series of experiments funded by the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Postal Service, Dimoka and her colleagues studied subjects’ brains as they reviewed ads in both print and online formats.
“The area of the brain associated with memory, the hippocampus, showed higher levels of activation for ads that subjects had seen before in a physical format,” says Dimoka, “as opposed to digital ads.” By using the brain scanning tools, the researchers found that print is still sticky, even in today’s digital age.
The third phase of the experiments are currently underway. Dimoka says this new round will further investigate generational differences and brand awareness.
Are there any differences between the purchasing decisions of Millennials and Baby Boomers when looking at online versus print ads? “We did find some preliminary results [from earlier experiments] that were quite interesting,” Dimoka says, “and the opposite of what you would expect.” The full results will be published later this summer.
The Center investigates all kinds of decision making—including consumer, financial, and privacy decisions—that can have real impact on average people and companies. The impact of their work extends from marketing to fields like management information systems and finance.
For example, Crystal Reeck, assistant professor of marketing, found that how you review your choices during the decision making process can impact your ability to be patient. She is currently working on a study that involves how people disclose private information.
Companies are also affected by the Center’s work. “By looking at the brain of how 30 subjects were responding,” says Dimoka, “we can predict how millions of consumers in the United States would decide.”
“That’s the magic, the power of these tools.”
Learn more about Fox School Research.
“Most research projects in my field take a couple years, during which we go through a continuous process of testing, learning, and refining ideas that will ultimately make it into the paper.” Making it onto paper is exactly what Fox School of Business PhD student, Soojung Han, has been able to achieve in her field, Human Resources Management and Organizational Behavior. Han has capitalized on every opportunity that came her way and continues to take advantage of everything Fox has to offer.
Han, who has had not just one, but three papers accepted this summer, is pleased to be attending a school and department whose mission is to evoke the best in its students. “Everything about Fox is designed to allow students the opportunity to focus wholly on producing research,” Han said.
Being in an environment that offers a strong support system has allowed Han to collaborate with faculty members and develop new material, while learning to reach agreements and ultimately find the best solutions. “The faculty here are especially top-notch. My mentor and co-author, Dr. Crystal Harold (Paul Anderson Research Fellow) not only trains me in producing quality research, but also takes a personal interest in my professional future,” Han explained.
Although Han has had plenty of experience working with faculty here at Fox, she continues to broaden her research activity with others. She recently co-authored, “How I Get My Way. A Meta-Analytic Review of Research on Influence Tactics,” which was published in the Leadership Quarterly. This particular paper investigates the moderating effectiveness of 11 influence tactics between supervisors and subordinates and how this relationship responds to these various directions.
“Our results indicate that certain influence tactics could be more effective than others. However, it should be noticed that the effective strategies do not always guarantee good outcomes. Thus, understanding the relative differences on outcomes can guide individuals to select and use appropriate tactics to achieve their goals at the workplace,” Han said. The meta-analysis aspect of Han’s research has allowed her and her co-authors to delve deeper into the issue, beyond the typically inconsistent results produced by studies on the topic.
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such talented people on these projects, and I’m glad we have positive results to show for our efforts. I feel that the sense of accomplishment from these endeavors will further drive me to achieve in my future research work.” Han is in her 3rd year within the HROB department, and with over four years of industry experience, she continues to make a mark for herself here at Temple’s Fox School of Business.
Kevin Hong, a 2014 graduate of the Management Information Systems concentration of the PhD program at the Fox School of Business and an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, recently received a $120,024 grant to research bias and health issues in online “gig economy” platforms. The grant, awarded by the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will provide Hong with funding for two years to research how online labor platforms, that connect prospective employees with employers, are shaping the economy and influencing the health of participants.
The gig economy, which encompasses various freelance and temporary employment opportunities and is worth billions of dollars, is the future of the labor market. “It is important to understand how participants in gig economy platforms make decisions and how such decisions affect their health, as these platforms promise to become the future workplace for hundreds of millions of citizens,” said Hong.
Hong’s intersectional analysis of online gig economy platforms also seeks to identify gender and racial biases in the hiring process, while analyzing the health implications of technology-based employment. For many participants in the gig economy who jump from job to job, health insurance is not an option, and part of Hong’s research grant focuses on access to health insurance and how health issues are addressed in an economy that is increasingly shifting towards short-term employment. “Understanding health-related challenges faced by these workers will help us prescribe policy suggestions for online labor platforms to inform platform design,” said Hong.
Aside from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, Hong recently received Arizona State University’s esteemed W.P. Carey Faculty Research Award, the first time a non-tenured, tenure-track faculty member has received the award.
Hong attributes his success to the intimate advisor-student relationship he had as a PhD student at Temple. Indeed, his current research is in part inspired by his research at the Fox School of Business, where he partnered with Dr. Paul Pavlou on a project, in collaboration with Freelancer.com, to publish two articles about their project in Information Systems Research.
“It is fair to say that without Paul’s effort in mentorship and guidance, none of my achievements would be possible.”Hong also notes that the academic rigor and exposure to different research methodologies during his time at Fox gave him the tools necessary to succeed. Hong’s seamless transition from PhD student to accomplished professor and researcher is a testament to his intellect and work ethic and reflects the high caliber of Fox PhD graduates.
The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) has awarded Dr. In-Sue Oh a 2016 Distinguished Early Career Contribution Award. This is the second early career achievement award Oh has received, also earning one from the Academy of Management Human Resources Division in August 2014.
“This award has been one of my ambitious career goals since I started my PhD at the University of Iowa about 12 years ago,” said Oh, a Paul Anderson Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. “I am very glad and grateful that I have fulfilled this goal.”
The SIOP’s award is the oldest and most-prestigious early-to-mid career award in the field of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management. Each year, it is given to a scholar who received his or her PhD within the last eight years and has made influential research contributions to the science of Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Oh will be invited to present reflections on his research accomplishments at the following year’s SIOP conference to be held in Orlando, Fla. At the conference, Oh plans to share his current work, as well as discuss how he developed his research program. Since 2005, Oh has researched the validity of personality traits for performance across levels of analysis and criteria, and developing new meta-analysis methods.
“While working on a project on the relationship between personality traits and employee performance about 10 years ago, I realized that the personality-performance relationship must have been underestimated, given serious limitations in how both variables were measured,” said Oh.
Since then, he has investigated various ways to enhance the relationship. In addition, he will also share his personal tips for reaching ambitious goals and maintaining research productivity.
“I’ve discovered that the key to research productivity is persistence, teamwork, and not blindly trusting the data we see,” said Oh. “Data can lie to us without even blinking an eye.”
Oh hopes winning this award will enable him to continue pursuing research projects through the remainder of his career.
“One of my great mentors, Dr. Phil Roth, told me that research as a career is not a sprint but a marathon,” said Oh. “My PhD advisor, Dr. Frank Schmidt, who retired four years ago at the age of 68, is still actively working on research projects. This is exactly where I hope winning this award will lead me.”
Oh credits winning the award to his various mentors, role models, family members, teachers, deans, and department chairs who have offered support and guidance throughout his career. He also credits his fellow scholars, journal editors, reviewers, more than 70 co-authors, and Schmidt, in particular, for nominating him for the award, and five letterwriters in support of this nomination.
“I truly hope that winning this award will contribute to further elevating the research profile of the Human Resource Management department, the Fox School of Business, and Temple University as a whole,” Oh said.
Douglas Franklin, a second-year PhD student at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, co-authored a paper that has been accepted for publication in Leadership Quarterly, a top journal. Franklin’s paper, titled “An Exploration of the Interactive Effects of Leader Trait Goal Orientation and Goal Content in Teams,” explores how leaders’ personalities and goal orientations affect teams’ task commitment, learning, and overall competency. “One of my co-authors and mentor, Dr. Christopher Porter, introduced me to the concept of leader-goal orientation, which relates to a leader’s tendency to guide their teams to focus on learning more or displaying their current knowledge when working on tasks,” said Franklin.
When working in a group, it’s inevitable that a team’s goals won’t always align with its leader’s predisposition, Franklin said. He and his fellow researchers found that, ultimately, goal orientation of leaders has a direct effect on overall team competency, for better or for worse.“When team leaders have a high tendency to encourage learning-goal orientation, it helps teams perform better when assigned performance goals,” Franklin said. “However, when team leaders have a high tendency to encourage absolute performance-goal orientation, their teams learn less when assigned learning goals.”
Franklin added that he and his fellow researchers also found that team commitment improved when leaders placed a stronger emphasis on learning goal orientation rather than on performance goal orientation. Goal orientation of leaders affects society as a whole because it is a large factor in everyday life, he said.
“Whether at work, in outside organizations, or even at home, it is important to take into consideration how your personality and your tendencies may affect those who you lead and collaborate with,” Franklin said. “Sometimes our goals do not necessarily align with subordinates, co-workers, and collaborators, which may have negative consequences if not checked.”
Though organizations typically use Big Five personality traits, and Meyers Briggs tests to understand employees during recruitment and training decisions, goal orientation may be a meaningful quasi-trait to test, Franklin said, because “it mirrors the achievement habits of people.”
At the Fox School, Franklin is pursuing his PhD in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior. He expects to complete the doctoral program in Spring 2019 and receive a faculty appointment in higher education thereafter.
Prior to his studies at the Fox School of Business, Franklin earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University. He also earned an MBA from Rice University, and a Master’s degree in Management from Texas A&M University.
“Most research projects in my field take a couple years, during which we go through a continuous process of testing, learning, and refining ideas that will ultimately make it into the paper.” Making it onto paper is exactly what Fox School of Business PhD student, Soojung Han, has been able to achieve in her distinguished field, Human Resources Management and Organizational Behavior. Han has been able to seize her opportunities to the fullest and continues to be an example of what Fox has to offer.
Han who has not has just one, but three papers accepted this summer, is pleased to be in the company of a school and department that is determined to bring the ultimate best out of its students. “Everything about Fox is designed to allow students the opportunity to focus wholly on producing research,” Han said.
Being in an environment that offers a strong support system has allowed Han to collaborate with faculty members and develop new material, while learning to reach agreements and ultimately find the best solutions. “The faculty here are especially top-notch. My mentor and co-author, Dr. Crystal Harold (Paul Anderson Research Fellow) not only trains me in producing quality research, but also takes a personal interest in my professional future,” Han explained.
Although Han has had experience with faculty here at Fox, she continues to broaden her research activity with other collaborators. She recently co-authored with students from various institutions, “How I Get My Way. A Meta-Analytic Review of Research on Influence Tactics,” which was published in the Leadership Quarterly. This particular paper investigates the moderating effectiveness of 11 influence tactics between supervisors and subordinates, and how this relationship responds to these various directions.
“Our results indicate that certain influence tactics could be more effective than others. However, it should be noticed that the effective strategies do not always guarantee good outcomes. Thus, understanding the relative differences on outcomes can guide individuals to select and use appropriate tactics to achieve their goals at the workplace,” Han said. The meta-analysis aspect of the research has allowed Han and her co-authors to delve deeper beyond the typically inconsistent results concerning this study.
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such talented people on these projects, and I’m glad we have positive results to show for our efforts. I feel that the sense of accomplishment from these endeavors will further drive me to achieve in my future research work.” Han is in her 3rd year within the HROB department and with over four years of industry experience, she continues to make a mark for herself here at Temple’s Fox School of Business.
Sarah Diomande, SMC ‘18
Toward the end of an academic semester, students traditionally prepare to take final exams. However, students enrolled in Dr. Crystal Harold’s course at the Fox School of Business are undertaking projects centered on service and improving relationships in the Philadelphia community.
While offered at Fox, the course, titled The Leadership Experience: Leading Yourself, Leading Change, Leading Communities, is open to all honors students at Temple University.
Harold, an Associate Professor of Human Resource Management at Fox, said she created the human resource honors elective three years ago to help students learn the process of leading by organizing events that benefit the community. The course also focuses on reflection, assessment, and development on the core skill sets required of effective leaders. Throughout the semester, students are asked to identify their strengths and weaknesses as leaders in order to gain insight into their leadership evolution.
“I chose to have students focus their efforts on organizing a charitable or community-focused event for a couple of reasons,” Harold said. “First, the community aspect helps the students develop a greater appreciation for the community in which Temple University operates. Second, there is a growing interest among this generation of students engaging in social responsibility and community activism. This project not only teaches valuable lessons about both leadership and followership, but also appeals to the students’ desires to help.”
The student-led events include an April 17 charity 4-on-4 basketball tournament, to raise money for the Family Memorial Trust Fund of fallen Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III, who was killed March 5 in the line of duty.
“After hearing of the tragic passing of Officer Wilson, we decided to hold this event in order to provide his family with as much financial support as possible,” said Cameran Alavi, a senior mathematical economics major. “It’s a chance for us to come together and support a worthy cause, as well as honor the life of a great man who was loved by everyone he knew.”
Another group organized a Philly Block Clean-Up for April 18. Kevin Carpenter, an environmental science and biology double-major, said his group decided to focus on an event geared toward the improvement of environmental needs in the surrounding Temple University community.
“Having pride in the neighborhood, even though a lot of students aren’t permanent residents, is extremely important,” he said. “Making an environmental impact, helping the community at large and being able to connect with Philadelphia residents through environmental action is a great feeling.”
One group decided against hosting an event, and instead partnered with the People’s Paper Co-Op and Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) over the course of the Spring 2015 semester. People’s Paper Co-Op and PLSE offer free expungement clinics for those in the Philadelphia community who wish to clean up their criminal records and learn viable skills, like public-speaking or how to expand upon their professional networks, to help them re-enter the workforce. After sitting in on the clinics, group members will present their suggested areas of improvement on how to further develop the expungement program to the leadership of both the Co-Op and PLSE.
“One hardship of the criminal justice system is the challenge of re-entry for individuals trying to restart their lives,” said Jacob Himes, a junior double-majoring in Italian and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies. “Our group attends each clinic, volunteers and looks for avenues of improvement in the program.”
Fox School junior Sarika Manavalan’s group assembled an April 19 Bookdrive Benefit Concert, to benefit Treehouse Books. Treehouse Books is a non-profit organization in North Philadelphia that serves youth in the community by giving children the opportunity to enhance their literary skills by focusing on the importance of reading. The entry fee for the event is one children’s book, or a monetary donation in lieu of one.
Manavalan said Harold’s course has provided countless intangible lessons.
“You can learn about leadership skills in the classroom but it’s really when you work hands on with other people that you develop them,” said Manavalan, who is double-majoring in Marketing and Management Information Systems (MIS) at Fox. “Whether or not our events are successful, it’s more about creating your event from scratch and learning how to work with non-profit organizations and finding ways to benefit the community.”
Scheduled Event List
4-on-4 Basketball Tournament (benefitting the Officer Robert Wilson III Family Memorial Trust Fund)
Friday, April 17, 6-9 p.m.
Cost: $20 registration fee per team
Location: Pearson Hall Courts (3rd Floor), Temple University
Contact: Cameran Alavi, email@example.com
Bookdrive Benefit Concert (benefitting Treehouse Books)
Sunday, April 19, 7-8:30 p.m.
There’s a crucial strategy in online advertising that could revolutionize the way marketing agencies target online consumers, according to Fox School of Business researcher.
Dr. Xueming Luo studied how the strategy of competitor-poaching in online advertising influences consumer behavior. His most-recent publication on the topic was named Best Track Paper in Social Media & Digital Marketing at the 2015 American Marketing Association Winter Educator Conference Feb. 14 in San Antonio, Texas. It also received the conference’s honorable-mention distinction among all submissions.
Competitor-poaching in online advertising is responsible for why consumers can search the term “iPhone” using Google’s search engine, and corresponding ads for the Samsung Galaxy, Apple’s closest competitor, will appear, said Luo, Professor of Marketing, Strategy, and Management Information Systems. In his research, Luo uncovered that this strategy results in “clicks wasted,” as consumers glance over the competitor’s ads while remaining loyal to their initial preferences.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Luo said. “You can increase the impression of the competitor’s brand, but you cannot get consumers to purchase the poaching brand.”
This effect is partly seen because online consumers often develop specific brand loyalties by word of mouth or from reviews that sites like Amazon and Google provide, he said. Firms, Luo found, seek to continually build brand equity and increase positive socialization around their products in order to thwart attempts at online poaching.
“Online poaching impresses non-loyal customers, but fails to get more sales conversion from customers who have high loyalty to the brand under attack” Luo said.
Asking a consumer why they want or prefer a certain product or brand, and how price influences their decisions, can help clarify what incentivizes shoppers, Luo said. Marketing agencies should then target their competitor’s keywords with advertisements that include discounts, he suggested, to capture consumer curiosity.
“To switch consumers from a brand, you need a deeper incentive, such as a 30-percent discount,” Luo said. “If you do this the wrong way, you’ll waste your money. That method can only engender clicks, but not sales conversion.”
This research, Luo said, is a part of his greater interest in how online marketing interweaves big-data analytics, mobile strategies, and consumer insights. As founder of the Global Center on Big Data in Mobile Analytics, which is housed at the Fox School, Luo is interested in investigating how big data gleaned from search engines reveal varying patterns in the evolving sphere of online ads and mobile targeting.
“This is a great way to outsmart competitors and connect customers for superior company performance,” Luo said.
Overlooking the Center City from the top floor of Alter Hall, marketing doctoral students and faculty from colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic region gathered as part of the Fox School of Business’ third-annual Mid-Atlantic Doctoral Symposium (MADS).
PhD students from Rutgers University, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Fox School joined distinguished faculty from the region to discuss burgeoning research on big data analytics, marketing communications, consumer behavior and more at the day-long event, held March 27.
“It’s great for faculty and doctoral students to come together and learn,” said Andy Reinaker, a fourth-year doctoral candidate at the Fox School, who helped co-coordinate the event.
The impetus of former Fox PhD student Mike Obal, now a marketing professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, helped spur the event’s creation three years ago. The Mid-Atlantic Doctoral Symposium has seen a steady rise in attendance, as researchers have shown an interest in networking with others in their field.
To expose the attendees to the diverse interests in the room, students from myriad universities presented their latest research throughout the day to the larger group. Trading places with the student researchers, the faculty members in attendance also hosted panels on transitioning from doctoral studies to professorships, as well as lessons they had learned from years of research.
In addition to the presentations, students and faculty were invited to network with one another. Going beyond discovering common interests, students and faculty were encouraged to consider chances for collaboration and foster relationships that cross state and university lines.
“Because it’s such a small group, it’s a great place to have these types of conversations. We build the day for that to happen,” said Lindsay Clark, Assistant Director of Special Projects in the Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives at the Fox School.
In his opening remarks, Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat reflected upon the opportunities the Mid-Atlantic Doctoral Symposium presents to students from colleges and universities located from Connecticut to North Carolina.
“Beyond our distinguished guest speakers, this symposium affords everyone here a chance to develop both research and social relationships that will foster the success of your future projects,” Porat said in his address.
Echoing Porat’s sentiments was Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Associate Dean of Doctoral Programs and Chief Research Officer for the Fox School.
“It is my pleasure to continue to support this event,” Pavlou said. “We pride ourselves on the successes and achievements of all of our students in their academics and future careers.”
Tyrha Lindsey-Warren, a PhD candidate from Rutgers University interested in marketing communications, who has attended the symposium since in its inaugural year, said she returns to the event annually “because of the intimacy and the environment created. It’s not stuffy, and you feel comfortable.”
Keynote speaker Dr. David Griffith, of Lehigh University, agreed that the experience at the Mid-Atlantic Doctoral Symposium is unique.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for doctoral students to learn about what it takes to be successful,” Griffith said. “It’s becoming a very premier event.”
Could a spicy cinnamon scent persuade you to buy a Lexus? A professor from the Fox School of Business thinks so.
Dr. Maureen Morrin, Professor of Marketing at the Fox School, and a collaborative research team found a definitive connection between warm scents, consumer preference for luxury (more expensive items), and an increase in overall spending.
“If there is a warm scent in the room, people perceive the room to be smaller, and more full of other people,” Morrin said, citing the research findings of she and her team. “As a result, they feel a little less socially powerful. In order to restore their feeling of power, they prefer premium or luxury brands.”
Morrin and her research colleagues (Dr. Adriana Madzharov of the Stevens Institute of Technology, and Dr. Lauren Block of Baruch College) published the findings of their scent-power correlation research in the Journal of Marketing in January 2015. Their research also received mention in Science Daily. The study is believed to be the first of its kind to examine how temperature-related associations with smell affect our spatial perceptions and sense of self-importance.
For her most-recent study, Morrin and her colleagues exposed test subjects to two identical retail environments, and then subtly manipulated the scent in each atmosphere to be either warm, like spicy cinnamon, or cool, like minty menthol. They found that consumers exposed to the warm scents felt less socially powerful, finding the room crowded and overwhelming. To assuage their insecurities, they not only purchased more goods, but showed a preference for luxury items assumed to increase one’s social status, Morrin said. Conversely, those participants in cool-scented environments showed no inclination toward or against the luxury items, and bought less overall.
“Cool scents tend to work in an opposite direction than warm scents in terms of their impact on how powerful you feel within a given environment,” Morrin said.
Morrin, whose research interests include sensory processing and consumer decision-making, has always been interested in pioneering studies regarding the correlation between scent and consumer behavior.
The idea of warm and cool scents emerges from learned associations between foods and scents that can influence our conscious perceptions. When one smells menthol, the association is immediately with mint, which to our taste buds is cool, Morrin said, while vanilla and cinnamon evoke opposite reactions.
Morrin’s study revealed that not only can scent prime our emotions, it actually alters our idea of ourselves in space. Morrin’s test subjects reported increased crowding in rooms with warmer scents when the population remained constant. Conversely, the shoppers in cool-scented rooms reported increased spatial perception and a reduced number of people in the room.
Should retailers take advantage of these findings, Morrin said the market for luxury goods can be targeted acutely.
“Retailers of luxury goods might consider how their store’s atmospherics impact shoppers’ spatial perceptions,” she said. “Aspects of the retail environment that elicit power-compensatory consumer responses might lead to a greater preference for and purchasing of luxury brands.”
Morrin said she hopes to continue her investigation, and is currently working with several doctoral students from the Fox School to investigate other ties between scent and consumer behavior. The next step, she said, could be determining how ambient scents, especially those outside of our conscious awareness, could influence our purchase choices.
Researchers at Temple University’s Fox School of Business have identified an area of the brain that can significantly better predict the success of TV advertising.
Professors Angelika Dimoka, Paul A. Pavlou and Vinod Venkatraman led the research study at Temple’s Center for Neural Decision Making at the Fox School of Business. The research team received a $286,000 research grant from the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), a non-profit group that provided TV ads from major sponsor companies in the consumer-goods, financial, technology, travel, and pharmaceutical industries.. The study sought to understand whether measures obtained in the lab when a small number of consumers watched these TV ads can predict the success of these ads in terms of increasing sales in the market.
Their research paper recently has been accepted for publication in the Journal for Marketing Research, a top marketing journal. They completed the study in collaboration with researchers from New York University, Duke University and the University of California, Los Angeles, who analyzed available sales and success data from the TV ads.
Fox School’s research team evaluated the responses of more than 300 participants to television advertisements using eight distinct methods: traditional surveys; implicit measures; eye tracking; heart rate; skin conductance; breathing; and brain activity, as measured by fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and EEG (electroencephalography).
“This is the first study to relate individual-level measures in the lab to market-level behavior,” said Venkatraman, lead author and Assistant Professor of Marketing. “We show that physiological and brain responses to a 30-second TV advertisement can provide reliable markers for evaluating its actual success in the market.”
“Based on our research and findings, from all seven neurophysiological methods, brain data collected using fMRI, were the most predictive,” added Angelika Dimoka, Director of the Center for Neural Decision Making, and an Associate Professor of Marketing. Specifically, we are able to show that activation in an area of the brain known as the ventral striatum, the reward center of the brain, can predict a TV ad success. The higher the activation in the ventral striatum, the higher the success of the TV ad. Nobody has ever been able to make such a linkage.”
The findings suggest that a key to a successful TV ad, Venkatraman noted, is the ability to increase the desirability of the product featured in the TV ad – a construct that is difficult to measure through the use of traditional, self-reported measures.
“A researcher might ask a test participant, more traditionally, ‘Do you like this ad? Are you likely to purchase this product?’” said Pavlou, Fox School’s Associate Dean of Research and Chief Research Officer. “While subjective measures like traditional questionnaires can still predict the success of TV advertising, the use of neurophysiological measures, especially fMRI, can almost double the power of our prediction.”
Dimoka, Pavlou and Venkatraman began their research December 2012, after meeting ARF officials at the second Interdisciplinary Symposium on Decision Neuroscience, spo nsored and hosted by the Fox School of Business. They concluded their testing and research six months later.
A professor from Temple University’s Fox School of Business found inspiration for her research in a rather unconventional place.
Inspired by the television show, Hoarders, Dr. Boyoun (Grace) Chae and co-author Dr. Rui (Juliet) Zhu found during a three-year research study that efficiency and persistence suffered among people whose work conditions were untidy.
Harvard Business Review recently featured the findings of their research study, which was originally published by the Journal of Consumer Research in April 2014.
“Hoarders, that’s where the idea started from,” said Chae, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School. “It’s a critical issue in society. Think about why people really cannot throw things away. I think it’s a reflection on peoples’ preoccupation with what they have. People buy products and they have control over what they consume, but, ironically, people are overwhelmed with their possessions.”
Chae and Zhu, of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, China, exposed 100 test subjects to one of two work settings – either an organized desk, with papers and folders in order and shelves with properly arranged items, or an unorganized desk, with items strewn about carelessly.
Then, they conducted multiple tests during their research study. Among them was the persistence task, during which test subjects were required “to trace a geometric figure on a piece of paper without retracing any lines and without lifting the pencil from the paper,” they wrote. In their paper, Chae and Zhu describe the test as unsolvable. Subjects in the orderly office were one-and-a-half times more likely to stick with the task before quitting, Chae said. Those in the cleaner room attempted the challenge for an average of 1,117 seconds, while those in a disorganized setting gave up after an average of 669 seconds.
Other tests included: the stroop task, which measured the speed with which subjects could accurately respond to complex visual stimuli on a computer screen; and the willingness-to-pay task, another self-regulation measure which gauged the purchase intention of a subject with various products. Chae said subjects in the cleaner office responded to visual stimuli 10 to 15 percent more quickly than those in a more-chaotic room, “a quite significant finding,” she said.
“Writing a paper for a journal is purely academic, so to have our research appear in Harvard Business Review was a way for our research study and findings to be consumed by a much-wider audience,” Chae said. “We were delighted to take their call.”
A research paper authored by a current PhD student at Temple University’s Fox School of Business has earned international acclaim.
Pauline Milwood recently received the Best Paper Award at the second biennial Advances in Destination Management Conference, for her paper titled, “Knowledge, Innovation and the Role of the Destination Management Organization: Integrating Stakeholder and Network Perspectives.”
A PhD student with a concentration in Tourism and Sport, Milwood was honored at the conference, which took place June 11-13, in St. Gallen, Switzerland. She co-authored the paper with her advisor, Dr. Wesley S. Roehl, a professor from Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.
“It felt extremely gratifying (to be recognized),” Milwood said. “The PhD program is extremely grueling. It kind of makes the thorns and challenges that develop in the process of doing research all worth it in the end.”
The paper integrates stakeholder and network perspectives to examine the role played by destination management organizations (DMOs) in developing competitive advantage. Ultimately, the paper suggests that DMOs should utilize more involvement and collaboration engagement strategies and less control and monitoring engagements strategies to influence successful innovation outcomes among destination partners.
The research has implications for a wide range of entities, according to Milwood.
“The dynamic of government, business, and local residents’ roles comes into play when we’re talking about innovation development of a tourism area,” Milwood said.
In addition to its practical implications, the research enhances the theoretical ideas of network and stakeholder theorists.
“There is benefit to blending theories to better understand both structure and process dynamics of these relationships among public, private and third-sector interests, specifically as it relates to developing innovation in tourism,” Milwood said.
The Journal of Destination Marketing and Management, within which the paper will likely be published, co-sponsored the award.
A PhD student from Temple University’s Fox School of Business proved she can stand out in a crowd. Michelle Andrews received the Best Conference Paper Award at the 2014 American Marketing Association Summer Educator Conference Aug. 2 in San Francisco.
Andrews’ paper, titled, “Using Mobile Technology to Crowdsense,” employed crowdedness as an environmental factor that affects how people respond to mobile advertisements. The study for her research paper, which was co-authored by Xueming Luo, a Professor of Marketing in the Fox School’s Marketing and Supply Chain Management department, was conducted within subway trains.
In the context of a subway train, the measurement of crowdedness – a sometimes-abstract entity in research, Andrews remarks – becomes more precise.
“The reason we chose the subway train context was that it was unique,” said Andrews, who will earn her PhD in Marketing from the Fox School in Spring 2015. “During a subway commute, you’re surrounded by others in a public environment with little to do.”
Andrews, who signed a non-disclosure agreement regarding her research paper, could not specify which specific subway system she used for her research paper, but noted it was located in southeastern China, where, as Andrews pointed out, subways are mobile-equipped. That enabled Andrews and her co-authors to determine the number of mobile users within the specific dimensions of a subway train.
“We predicted crowdedness would increase immersion into mobile devices,” she explained. “We found that in congested trains, purchase rates were significantly higher than in uncongested ones.”
Andrews’ winning paper was co-authored by Zheng Fang, of China’s Sichuan University and Anindya Ghose, of New York University.
Also at the conference, Andrews’ research papers earned two further distinctions. The same paper that received the conference’s overall Best Paper Award also garnered the Best Track Paper Award in the Digital Marketing & Social Media track. Another of her research papers, titled “The Effectiveness of Cause Marketing” received the Best Track Paper Award in the Social Responsibility & Sustainability track.
“Michelle is so hard-working and innovative in her thinking for what’s coming next for the Marketing discipline, and the Best Conference Paper Award recognizes her for that,” Dr. Luo said. “Hopefully, this significant award will be influential, not only for our school but also for marketing on the whole, in demonstrating how to connect with consumers anytime, anywhere.”
The way a brain functions has been a source of human curiosity throughout time. Over the past few decades, researchers have used a number of neuroscience methods including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as a means to achieve a more-thorough understanding of how a human brain works.
The Center for Neural Decision Making (CNDM) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business has been at the forefront of this area, with research focused on integrating information from different methodologies to better understand human decision making.
Prior to the Academy of Management annual meeting, held in Philadelphia, the CNDM co-hosted a workshop with the Technology and Innovation Management group at MTEC, ETH Zurich on July 31 at Temple University. The workshop, titled, “Defining a Role for Neuroscience in Strategic Management,” provided a forum for leading researchers in the field of management to explore the use of methods in cognitive neuroscience in their research., by including both practical demonstration of some methods and presentations about designing and analyzing fMRI studies.
“There’s a lot of potential to improve our fMRI training methods and expand on our current practices. I want to help improve our teaching methodology and explain why it is that we use fMRI,” said Dr. Daniella Laureiro-Martinez, of ETH Zurich. Laureiro-Martinez made the conference’s first presentation, which included discussions about how to design an fMRI study and work within the limitations of the scanning environment.
“People often underestimate the nuances of designing an fMRI experiment,” said Dr. Vinod Venkatraman, an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Fox School of Business and Associate Director of the CNDM. “When dealing with neurophysiological signals, it becomes increasingly difficult to block out the noise and focus on the desired signals. A good experimental design is one that eliminates most prejudices unrelated to the task of primary interest. Because conducting an experiment using fMRI technology is expensive and timely, having a good experiment design could prevent wasting time or money on ineffective studies.”
Despite the fact that fMRI technology has come a long way since its first use in the 1990s, there are improvements that can be made. Crucially, discussions in the conference focused on how these developments can be used to inform research in other areas like strategic management. Discussions also centered on ethical considerations and consequences of neuroscience experiments for managers.
The CNDM team and the Fox School of Business aim to be at the forefront of the area of applied neuroscience, extending findings from basic neuroscience to more applied areas in Business. They are continuing to find new ways to improve how to make study results more palatable and how more can be learned about the human brain and consumer behavior. The ultimate goal is to expand their work in the industry, helping companies understand how and why you would do a study on the human brain.
“Hopefully our future holds more fruitful collaborations with corporations and industry partners, taking our academic knowledge and studies and applying it to their practical use,” said Khoi Vo, Senior Research Associate at the Center for Neural Decision Making. “We hope to provide them with the necessary data, as well as the education and tools to understand and apply it to real-world decisions.”