About this Research Topic
Recent years have seen a surge in interest in understanding the neural substrates of consumption, including antecedents to both positive consequences such as consumer well-being and happiness as well as negative, pathological outcomes such as addiction. The bulk of already existing studies in this area point to valuation mechanisms and associated responses of dopamine-rich brain areas as crucial correlates of consumption. Specifically, the mesolimbic dopamine system has been named a common mechanism implicated in aspects of consumption as diverse as the experience of aesthetic product packaging, the trade-off
between brand and price, and the role of status symbols, but also substance abuse.
Given these findings, the involvement of dopamine in different aspects of consumption has been suggested to be a key rationale for the effectiveness of marketing. Yet, many previous studies report only correlations with single brain areas, which may not serve as sufficient predictors of consumption. Therefore, an effort to investigate the causality between different marketing-related stimuli, activations of mesolimbic dopamine structures, and positive and negative consumer behaviors is needed. The goal of the current research topic is (1) to integrate knowledge on the role of dopaminergic brain areas in downstream consumer behaviors, (2) to provide a deeper understanding of the neural processes behind consumption, (3) to differentiate between positive and pathological consequences of reward-related consumption, and (4) to work toward a better understanding of reward-based consumer decision-making.This research topic is co-hosted by Decision Neuroscience to ensure a wide depth of coverage of reward-based decision-making processes.
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