The Role of Prefrontal Cortex in Purchasing Decision-Making Context

Michela Balconi, Maria Elide Vanutelli, Giulia Fronda, Giulia Fronda, Francesca Meroni, Claudio Lucchiari

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The functional role of the prefrontal cortex has often been related to decision-making. Moreover,depending on the task that has to be carried out, it can be even more functionally specialized (Ernst& Paulus, 2005). The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), for example, seems to be activated bycomplex tasks solving, working memory processing and recalling of long-lasting memories withinlong-term memory (Fuster, 2001; Hampson, 2018). Decision-making is applied every day in manydifferent situations, among which stands out the purchasing one. In this context, a crucial anddeterminant role is played by feelings and emotions. Indeed, emotions are often linked withmemories and choices. Previous experiences, in fact, have a key role in this process, since they caninfluence people’s behavior and take decisions based on some psychological processes such asreward and motivation (Lucchiari & Pravettoni, 2012). However, this is also particularly importantwhen people have to decide within unusual purchasing situations where pros and cons must betaken into account with regard to personal and others’ advantages. In the present study, a modifiedversion of a well-known social interaction paradigm (i.e., the Ultimatum Game; Güth et al., 1982)was used. The scenarios proposed described a store experience in which they should imagine usingvouchers. Choices could be neutral, advantageous or disadvantageous from the participant’sperspective. In order to explore the hemodynamic response, fNIRS was used by applying a 18-channels array of optodes covering prefrontal and frontal areas. The final sample included 32 university students of comparable age and educational level. Results showed that the specific offertype led to the engagement of dedicated neural networks, with increased activation of the rightmedial prefrontal cortex in the case of disadvantageous expenses. Findings are discussed taking intoaccount the psychological factors involved in each purchase choice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgram of the 11th International Scientific Conference on Neuroethics and 6th Conference of the Italian Society for Neuroethics (SINe)
PagesN/A
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event11th International Scientific Conference on Neuroethics and 6th Conference of the Italian Society for Neuroethics (SINe) - Milano
Duration: 15 May 201917 May 2019

Conference

Conference11th International Scientific Conference on Neuroethics and 6th Conference of the Italian Society for Neuroethics (SINe)
CityMilano
Period15/5/1917/5/19

Keywords

  • Decision-making, fNIRS, EEG, prefrontal

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