Consumer Research

There is ever growing demand for insights into what drives customers’ attitudes and behavior. Unfortunately, surveys and other traditional methods of generating customer insights have remained largely unchanged since their introduction decades ago. Applications of neuroscientific techniques have increasingly been seen as one possible successor to traditional methods.

As one of the first generation of researchers to be trained in both social and biological sciences, one part of my research deals with how to take what we know at the biological level and apply them to the important challenges facing marketers.

Below is a selection of my published and working papers on marketing and consumer research topics.
Selected Papers
Zhihao Zhang, Maxwell Good, Vera Kulikov, Femke van Horen, Andrew Kayser and Ming Hsu. Toward A Neuroscientifically Informed “Reasonable Person” Test. SSRN Working Paper, 2022.

Nan Chen, John A. Clithero and Ming Hsu. Demand Estimation and Forecasting Using Cognitive Models of Consumer Choice. SSRN Working Paper, 2021.

Berger, J., Packard, G., Boghrati, R., Hsu, M., Humphreys, A., Luangrath, A., Moore, S., Nave, G., Olivola, C., and Rocklage, M. Marketing insights from text analysis. Marketing Letters, 2022. [PDF]

Clithero, John, Ming Hsu, & Uma Karmarkar. Toward an Integrative Conceptualization of Maladaptive Consumer Behavior. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 2021. [PDF]

Hsu, Ming. “Neuromarketing: Inside the mind of the consumer.” California Management Review. 59:4, 5-22, 2017. [PDF]

Hsu, Ming. Customer-Based Brand Equity: Insights from Consumer Neuroscience. In Moran Cerf, Manuel Garcia, eds. (2017) Consumer Neuroscience. MIT Press. [PDF]

Chen, Yu-Ping and Ming Hsu. Semantic and episodic components of brand knowledge: evidence from functional neuroimaging. Working Paper. [PDF]

Hsu, Ming. Validating Customer Insights: Don’t Ask The Person, Ask The Brain. Working Paper. [PDF]

Hsu, Ming and Carolyn Yoon. The Neuroscience of Consumer Choice. Current Opinions in Behavioral Sciences, 5: 116–121, 2015. [PDF]

Chen, Yu-Ping, Leif Nelson, and Ming Hsu. From “Where” to “What”: Distributed Representations of Brand Associations in the Human Brain. Journal of Marketing Research, 52: 453-466, 2015. [PDF] [Supplementary Materials]

Smidts, Ale, Ming Hsu, Alan Sanfey, Maarten Boksem, Richard Ebstein, Scott Huettel, Joe Kable, Uma Karmarkar, Shinobu Kitayama, Brian Knutson, Israel Liberzon, Terry Lohrenz, Mirre Stallen, and Carolyn Yoon. Advancing Consumer Neuroscience. Marketing Letters. 2014. [PDF]

Hsu, Ming. Neuromarketing: Mere Bundles of Mental States? Peer Sphere: The CMO Council Journal, 2: 36–37, 2012. [PDF]

Amaldoss, Wilfred, Alexander Brown, Yan Chen, Tony Cui, Alberto Galasso, Teck-Hua Ho, Tanjim Hossain, Ming Hsu, Noah Lim, Mo Xiao, and Botao Yan (order alphabetical). Empirical Examination of Behavioral Models of Managerial Decision-Making. Marketing Letters, 23: 405-421, 2012. [PDF]


I also direct the Neuroeconomics Lab at UC Berkeley, where my team and I use a variety of methods to study biological basis of economic and consumer decision-making. We do so using a variety of methods, including functional neuroimaging, pharmacology, brain lesion, molecular genetics, and electrocorticography. These are underpinning by a common set of computational models derived from economics, consumer research, and psychology.

Below is a selection of our published papers. Unfortunately, following norms in the biological sciences, we do not post preprints or working papers, but welcome any questions regarding our current projects.
Selected Papers
Kobayashi, Kenji, Joseph Kable, Ming Hsu, & Adrianna Jenkins. Neural representations of others’ traits predict social decisions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022.

Zhang, Zhihao, Shichun Wang, Maxwell Good, Siyana Hristova, Andrew Kayser, and Ming Hsu. Retrieval-Constrained Valuation: Toward Prediction of Open-Ended Decisions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2021.

Kobayashi, Kenji, & Ming Hsu. Common Neural Code for Reward and Information Value. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2019.

Zhu, Lusha, Yaomin Jiang, Donatella Scabini, Robert T. Knight, & Ming Hsu. Patients with basal ganglia damage show preserved learning in an economic game. Nature Communications. 2019.

Jenkins, Adrianna, Pierre Karashchuk, Lusha Zhu, & Ming Hsu. Predicting human behavior toward members of different social groups. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2018.

Saez, Ignacio, Jack Lin, Arjen Stolk, Edward Chang, Josef Parvizi, Gerwin Schalk, Robert T. Knight, and Ming Hsu. Encoding of multiple reward-related computations in transient and sustained high-frequency activity in human OFC. Current Biology. 2018.

Saez, Ignacio, Lusha Zhu, Eric Set, Andrew Kayser, and Ming Hsu. Dopamine Modulates Egalitarian Behavior In Humans. Current Biology, 25: 91-919, 2015. [PDF]

Zhu, Lusha, Adrianna Jenkins, Eric Set, Donatella Scabini, Robert Knight, Pearl H. Chiu, Brooks King-Casas, and Ming Hsu. Damage To Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Affects Tradeoffs Between Honesty And Self-Interest. Nature Neuroscience, 17: 1319-1321, 2014. [PDF]

Set, Eric, Ignacio Saez, Lusha Zhu, Daniel Houser, Noah Myung, Songfa Zhong, Richard Ebstein, Soohong Chew, and Ming Hsu. Dissociable Contribution Of Prefrontal And Striatal Dopaminergic Genes To Learning In Economic Games. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111: 9615-9620, 2014. [PDF]

Zhu, Lusha, Kyle Mathewson, and Ming Hsu. Dissociable neural representations of reinforcement and belief prediction errors underlie strategic learning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109: 1419–1424, 2012. [PDF]

Hsu, Ming, Cedric Anen, and Steven Quartz. The Right and the Good: Distributive Justice and Neural Encoding of Equity and Efficiency. Science 320: 1092-1095, 2008. [PDF]

Hsu, Ming, Meghana Bhatt, Ralph Adolphs, Daniel Tranel, and Colin Camerer. Neural Systems Responding to Degrees of Uncertainty In Human Decision Making. Science 310: 1624-1625, 2005. [PDF]