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The impact of perceived quality on online buying decisions: an event-related potentials perspective

Wang, Jing; Han, Weiwei

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000233

Consumer neuroscience can provide useful insights into the neural foundations of consumer decisions, such as perceived quality. One of the applications is to guide attribute configuration of products to fit consumers’ expectations on the basis of individual preferences. In this study, we required 20 participants to decide whether to buy the product provided in the stimuli and to respond as soon as possible. According to their reports of expectations after the experiment, we subdivided the stimuli into two conditions. Condition 1 contained the stimuli that fit individual preferences, whereas Condition 2 contained the other stimuli. An essential component of event-related potentials (ERPs), the P300, was elicited in the two conditions and distributed over almost all parietal and occipital regions. Products in Condition 1 induced a higher P300 amplitude than those in Condition 2. The results show that evaluating product attributes is a cognitive process that modulates attention in the aforementioned regions. When participants evaluate the alternatives, categorical processing occurred on the basis of similarity judgment. The situation in Condition 1 produced a similarity overlap between the product and the expectation and resulted in a higher P300. Otherwise, there was no overlap, leading to a smaller P300. Hence, the P300 may be a useful neural endogenous indicator for measuring consumers’ evaluations of products in marketing research.

School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China

Correspondence to Weiwei Han, PhD, School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Room A1130, New Main Building, 37th Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100191, China Tel: +86 138 116 62182; fax: +86 010 823 38930; e-mail:

Received June 5, 2014

Accepted June 20, 2014

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins