Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Price of Wines and your Frontal Cortex

“We enjoy our purchase, more precisely, because we paid more,” it has been said. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) to scan the brains of 20 adult test subjects in California. They were given five different samples of Cabernet Sauvignon, each priced differently and presented in random order. The subjects reported experiencing pleasure at markedly higher levels when they were told that the wine cost more. Thus the researchers discovered signs of how a change in the price of a product can affect “neural computations associated with experienced pleasantness.".According to the researchers, "Contrary to the basic assumptions of economics, several studies have provided behavioral evidence that marketing actions can successfully affect experienced pleasantness by manipulating non intrinsic attributes of goods. For example, knowledge of a beer's ingredients and brand can affect reported taste quality, and the reported enjoyment of a film is influenced by expectations about its quality. "Even more intriguingly, changing the price at which an energy drink is purchased can influence the ability to solve puzzles."
As a follow-up eight weeks later, subjects were given the wines to taste without any suggested prices. The majority of them selected the $5 wine, the cheapest, as their favorite (from Earthtimes)

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