EEG, or electroencephalogram, a vital part of neuromarketing, records brain activity and brain waves. Small sensors or electrodes are attached to the human scalp, which pick up electrical signals being transmitted by the brain. These are recorded on a machine and decoded by researchers.
EEG is widely used in neuro research to track the cognitive behavior of target consumers and predict their buying behavior.
What are the steps for EEG?
From identifying the research question and target audiences to arriving at predictions, there are a few steps that entail EEG tracking.
Based on the requirement, the target audience is defined in terms of age, sex, education, and other criteria that may be relevant to screen participants. Then, a representative sample is chosen based on this.
Once recruited, participants are invited to the research location, like a lab, where the researcher first explains the procedure and answers any queries or doubts they may have. Next, they are made comfortable and at ease with snacks and beverages. Once they settle in, the EEG trackers are fitted to the participants.
Adequate EEG equipment like the ABM B-Alert X10 headset must be used for the activity. It has nine sensors that measure brain activity at a rate of 256 per second. As per studies, this headset is most comfortable for a participant while also giving maximum signal purity and collecting brain data with utmost precision.
The EEG headset has to fit the participant well for an accurate reading. First, the head circumference is measured vertically and horizontally. Based on the correct measurements, the nine sensors are placed at the right positions with a sensor strip of suitable fit.
Also, two sensors are placed behind the ears to purify brain signals and avoid dilution due to noise in other parts of the body. To get maximum conductance, alcohol is used to cleanse the skin in the area behind the ears. These sensors can measure non-brain electrical activity, which helps to isolate brain data.
For best signals, the nine electrodes are covered with a synapse gel-filled foam disk. The headset is then placed with the utmost precision on the heads of the participants, followed by an impedance check to determine if proper and pure signals are being received. While checking sensor impedance, it is corrected if required with headset adjustment or additional filling of synapse gel.
A benchmark step is done first to measure brain activity while the participant is at rest. This helps to normalise brain activity on the individual measurements.
An eye tracker is installed next to track what and where the participant looks at. For an online assessment, a remote eye tracker is applied. The Tobii X3-120 eye tracker measures the movements of the eyes, dilution of pupils, and screen distance most accurately. Before the activity, the participant is asked to engage in a viewing task to calibrate the tracker.
After the final instructions, the researcher allows the participant some time to peruse and understand the study thoroughly to avoid distractions in between. If the settings are more realistic, the resulting insights would be more useful.
Once the study is over, the EEG headset and sensors are detached, and any synapse gel is removed from the participant’s face or head.
After gathering data from a sample size of a minimum of six, brain data is analysed using four metrics – desire, attention, confusion, and workload. These are for quantitative analysis, with a benchmark. Participants’ data is merged to analyse consumer behavior per second.
For qualitative analysis, the reactions of consumers to specific elements are tracked. Once both analyses are done, a report is prepared with definitive conclusions and useful recommendations.
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