Researchers at the Center for Applied Research in Decision Making focuses on the appropriate and efficient use of methodologies like eye tracking, facial coding, facial electromyography, skin conductance, heart rate, EEG and fMRI to illuminate decision making processes.

Neuroscience for Business

Neuroscience for Business

CARD seeks to leverage recent developments across multiple neurophysiological methodologies to address real-world business problems in the fields of Marketing, Management and Information Systems.

In a pioneering study funded by Advertising Research Foundation, Dr. Vinod Venkatraman and colleagues demonstrated that activation in ventral striatum, a key region in the brain that tracks rewards and desirability, was the strongest predictor of market-level advertising elasticity beyond traditional self-report measures. Recently, researchers at the center have been working with the United States Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General on a series of projects evaluating the relative effectiveness of print and digital advertising for branding.

Featured Researcher(s): Vinod Venkatraman

Strategic Decision Making and Preferences

Strategic Decision Making and Preferences

What happens between viewing a set of options and committing to a decision? CARD uses eye tracking and MouseLab to understand variability in these decision strategies within and across individuals.

CARD’s research shows that people can use different decision strategies, and how they choose a given strategy depends on the decision environment, their prior experiences with similar problems and individual differences in capabilities and attitudes. CARD also sought to understand how these strategies extend to real-world decisions in the domain of consumer finance, environmental decision making and sustainability. Insights from this research can be used to develop nudges for improving consumer welfare.

Featured Researcher(s): Vinod Venkatraman and Crystal Reeck

Emotions in Consumer Behavior

Emotions in Consumer Behavior

Emotions are pervasive in decision making; they signal to us that something is desirable, motivate our behaviors and reinforce our purchases. 

However, the mechanisms underlying how feelings shape consumer behavior remain poorly understood. Additionally, consumers are not slaves to their emotional reactions but rather can control their emotions in order to engage in more adaptive behavior. Whether deciding to enhance positive feelings in order to give to a charity or diminish negative emotions while riding out a market downturn, emotion regulation keeps self-control and emotion in balance. Neural and physiological measures give researchers at the CARD purchase on multiple aspects of emotional responses and the tension between emotion and control, allowing them to dive deeper into their applications for consumer behavior beyond traditional self-report measures.

Featured Researcher: Crystal Reeck

Aging and Decision Preferences

Aging and Decision Preferences

The world population is graying at a fast rate, with increasing life expectancies and declining birth rates. Older adults are faced with increasingly complex decisions about retirement planning, healthcare, savings, will and estate planning and more.

Teenagers, on the other hand, are at the peak of their physical health, yet there has been a spike in the morbidity and mortality during the adolescent years from largely preventable behaviors connected to risky decision making. Given the potential impact of these decisions on both the psychological well-being of the individual as well as the society, CARD seeks to understand the mechanisms through which aging affects decision making across the entire lifespan.

Featured Researcher: Vinod Venkatraman

Academic Publications

Reeck, C., Guo, X., Dimoka, A., & Pavlou. P. (in press). Uncovering the Neural Processes of Privacy: A Neurally-informed Behavioral Intervention to Protect Information Privacy. Information Systems Research.

Lu, T., Karmarkar, U., and Venkatraman, V., The Effect of Content Structure on How Consumers Plan Media Viewing Time (In Press, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied).

Smith, D.V., Ludwig, R.M., Dennison, J.B., Reeck, C., and Fareri, D. (in press). An fMRI Dataset on Social Reward Processing and Decision Making in Younger and Older Adults. Nature Scientific Data.

Chan, H-Y., Boksem, M.A.S., Venkatraman, V., Dietvorst, R.C., Scholz, C., Vo, K., Falk, E.B. and Smidts, A. (in press). Neural Signature of Advertisement Liking: Insights into the Psychological Processes of Consumer Valuation and their Temporal Dynamics. Journal of Marketing Research.

Reeck, C. & LaBar, K.S. (2024). Retrieval-induced forgetting of emotional memories. Cognition & Emotion, 38(1), 131-147.

Reeck, C., Posner, N.A., Mrkva, K., & Johnson, E.J. (2023). Nudging app adoption: Choice architecture facilitates consumer uptake of mobile apps. Journal of Marketing, 87(4), 510-527.

Williams, W.C., Haque, E.*, Mai, B.*, and Venkatraman, V. (2023) Face masks Influence Emotion Judgments of Facial Expressions: A drift-diffusion model. Scientific Reports 13:884.

He, L., Wall, D., Reeck, C., & Bhatia, S. (2023). Information Acquisition and Decision Strategies in Intertemporal Choice. Cognitive Psychology, 142, 101562.

Beard, E., Henninger, N., and Venkatraman, V. (in press). Making it Stick: The Role of Metaphors in Improving Advertising Memory. Journal of Advertising.

Buchanan, E.M.,…, Reeck, C.,…, & Primbs, M.A. (2023). The Psychological Science Accelerator’s COVID-19 Rapid-Response Dataset. Nature Scientific Data, 10, 87.

Reeck, C., Mullette-Gillman, O.A., McLaurin, R.E., & Huettel, S.A. (2022). Beyond money: Risk preferences across both economic and non-economic contexts predict financial decisions. PLOS One, 17(12): e0279125.

Dorison, C.A., …, Reeck, C., …, & Coles, N.A. (2022). In COVID-19 health messaging, loss framing increases anxiety with little-to-no concomitant benefits: Experimental evidence from 84 countries. Affective Science, 3, 577-602.

Fareri, D.S., Hackett, K., Tepfer, L.J., Kelly, V., Henninger, N., Reeck, C., Giovannetti, T., & Smith, D.V. (2022). Age-related differences in ventral striatal and default mode network function during reciprocated trust. NeuroImage, 256.

Reeck, C., & Onuklu, N.N.Y.  (2022). Interpersonal Emotion Regulation: Consequences for Brands in Customer Service Interactions. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 1-18.

Psychological Science Accelerator Self-Determination Theory Collaboration. (2022). A Global Experiment on Motivating Social Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(22), 1-11.

Reeck, C., Gamma, K., & Weber, E.U. (2022). How We Decide Shapes What We Choose: Decision Modes Track Consumer Decisions that Help Decarbonize Electricity Generation. Theory and Decision, 92, 731-758.

Baldo, D., Viswanathan, V.S., Timpone, R. and Venkatraman, V. (2021). The heart, brain, and body of marketing: Complementary Roles of Heart Rate, EEG and Galvanic Skin Response in Measuring Emotions, Memory and Ad Effectiveness. Psychology and Marketing, 39:10, 1979-1991.

Wang, K., Goldenberg, A., … Reeck, C., … & Moshontz, H. (2021). A multi-country test of brief reappraisal interventions on emotions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nature Human Behaviour, 5, 1089-1110.

Venkatraman, V., Dimoka, D., Vo, K., and Pavlou, P., (2021). Relative Effectiveness of Print and Digital Advertising: A Memory Perspective. Journal of Marketing Research 58:5, 827-844.

Mrkva, K., Posner, N.A., Reeck, C., & Johnson, E.J. (2021). Do nudges reduce disparities? Choice Architecture Compensates for Low Consumer Knowledge. Journal of Marketing, 85, 67-84. Winner of Best Paper Award Honorable Mention, Behavioral Science and Policy Association, 2022. Finalist, AMA-EBSCO-RRBM Annual Award for Responsible Research in Marketing, 2023.

Rosenbaum, G., Venkatraman, V., Steinberg, L., Chein, J. (2021). Do adolescents always take more risks than adults? A withinsubjects developmental study of context effects on decision making and processing. PLOS One, 16:8.

Reeck, C., Figner, B.F. *, Weber, E.U., Steffener, J., Krosch, A.R., Wager, T.D., and Johnson, E.J. (2021). Framing the Future First: Medial Temporal Lobe Activation Discriminates Delay and Acceleration Framing in Intertemporal Choice. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, & Economics, 14, 71-80.

Mrkva, K., Posner, N.A., Reeck, C., & Johnson, E.J. (2021). Design Systems with Your Most Vulnerable Users in Mind. Harvard Business Review, 1-5.

Brough, A.R., Donnelley, G.E., Griskevicius, V., Markowitz, E.M., Raimi, K.T., Reeck, C., Trudel, R., Waldman, K.B., Winterich, K.P., & Wolske, K. S. (2020). Understanding How Sustainable Initiatives Fail: A Framework to Aid Design of Effective Interventions. Social Marketing Quarterly, 26(4), 309-324.

Venkatraman, V., Yoon, S. (2020). Adaptivity in Decision-making Strategies Across Age: Process Insights and Implications. Journal of Marketing Behavior, 4: 103- 132.

Casado-Aranda, L., Venkatraman, V., Sanchez-Fernandez, J., and Luque-Martinez, T. (2020). Does Partisan Bias Modulate Neural Processing of Political Information? An Analysis of the Neural Correlates of Corruption and Positive Messages, Political Psychology 41:1, 145-164.

Kim, Y., & Reeck, C. (2019). Getting Everyone Onboard: Framing Collective Goal Progress Broadens Participation in Collective Marketing Campaigns. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1-10.

Venkatraman, V., & Reeck, C. (2019). Decision Neuroscience: fMRI Insights into Choice Processes. In Shulte-Mecklenbeck, M., Kuhberger, A., & Johnson, J. (Eds.), Handbook for Process Tracing Methods in Decision Making (2nd Edition). USA: Psychology Press.

Lindgreen, A., Di Benedetto, C.A., Verdich, C., Vanhamme, J., Venkatraman, V., Pattinson, S., Clarke, A.H., and Khan, Z. (2019). How to write really good research funding applications. Industrial Marketing Management 77, 232-239.

Rosenbaum, G., Venkatraman, V., Steinberg, L., and Chein, J. (2018). The influences of described and experienced information on adolescent risky decision making. Developmental Review, 47, 23-43.

Reeck, C., Wall, D., & Johnson, E.J. (2017). Search predicts and changes patience in intertemporal choice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114, 11890-11895.

Li, R., Smith, D.V., Clithero, J.A., Venkatraman, V., Carter, R.M., and Huettel, S.A. (2017). Reason’s Enemy is Not Emotion: Engagement of Cognitive Control Networks Explains Biases in Gain/loss Framing, Journal of Neuroscience 37:13, 3588- 3598.

Hampton. W., Alm, K., Venkatraman, V., Tehila, N., and Olson, I. (2017) Dissociable Frontrostriatal White Matter Connectivity Underlies Reward and Motor Impulsivity, NeuroImage, 150, 336-343.

Yoon, S., Vo, K.D., and Venkatraman, V. (2017). Variability in Decision Strategies Across Description-based and Experience-based Decision Making, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 30:4, 951-963.

Shaver, K.G., Schjoedt, L., Passarelli, A., & Reeck, C. (2017). The cognitive neuroscience of entrepreneurial risk: Conceptual and methodological challenges. In Day, M., Boardman, M., & Krueger, N. (Eds.), Handbook of Research Methodologies and Design in Neuro-entrepreneurship. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Ward, M., Reeck, C., & Becker, W. (2017). A brief primer on using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in entrepreneurship research. In Day, M., Boardman, M., & Krueger, N. (Eds.), Handbook of Research Methodologies and Design in Neuro-entrepreneurship. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Reeck, C., Ames, D.A., & Ochsner, K. N. (2016). The social regulation of emotion: An integrative, cross-disciplinary model. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 20, 47-63.

Martinez, D. L.*, Venkatraman, V.*, Brusoni, S., and Zollo, M. (2015). Cognitive Neurosciences and Strategic Management: Opportunities and Challenges in Tying the Knot. Advances in Strategic Management, 32, 351-370.

Venkatraman, V., Dimoka, A., Pavlou, P ., Vo, K., Hampton, W., Bollinger, B., Hershfield, H., Ishihara, M., Winer, R. (2015). Predicting Advertising Success: New Insights from Neuroscience and Market Response Modeling. Journal of Marketing Research, 52:4, 436-452.

Plassmann, H.*, Venkatraman, V.*, Huettel, S.A., Yoon, C. (2015). Consumer Neuroscience: Applications, Common Criticisms and Possible Solutions. Journal of Marketing Research, 52:4, 427-435. Manuscript featured in Journal Selections from MSI in June 2016 for its managerial relevance and potential to improve marketing practice.

Venkatraman, V., Payne, J.W. and Huettel, S.A. (2014). An Overall Probability of Winning Heuristic for Complex Risky Decisions: Choice and Eye Fixation Evidence, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 125:2, 73-87.

Venkatraman, V. (2013). Why Bother with the Brain? A Role for Decision Neuroscience in Understanding Strategic Variability, Progress in Brain Research, 202, 267- 288.

Venkatraman, V., and Huettel, S.A. (2012). Strategic Control in Decision Making Under Uncertainty, European Journal of Neuroscience, 35:7, 1075-82.

Venkatraman, V., Clithero, J. A, Fitzsimons, G. J. and Huettel, S. A. (2012). New Scanner Data for Brand Marketers: How Neuroscience can Help Better Understand Differences in Brand Preferences, Journal of Consumer Psychology 22:1, 143-153 (Finalist, C.W Park Young Contributor Award).

Industry Papers

“Advertising Effectiveness and Age,” February 25, 2019. U.S. Postal Service

“Using Mail to Build Brands,” September 5, 2018. U.S. Postal Service

“Tuned In: The Brain’s Response to Ad Sequencing,” February 13, 2017. U.S. Postal Service

“Enhancing the Value of Mail: The Human Response,” June 15, 2015. U.S. Postal Service

“The ARF “Neuro 2” Project on Predicting Advertising Success,” August 12, 2013. YouTube