U.S. Patent No. 6,099,319: Neuroimaging as a marketing tool
- Assignee(s): The Nielsen Company
- Inventor(s): Gerald Zaltman, Stephen M. Kosslyn
- Technology Category: Hybrid
- Issue Date: August 8, 2000
The ‘319 patent is one of Nielsen’s several patents that relate to analyzing brain data in response to a wide variety of stimuli for purposes of evaluating the stimuli, such as discerning emotional responses to sensory inputs. The background of the patent discusses using neuroimaging to augment the Metaphorical Elication Technique, where sensory materials (images, sounds, tastes) are used to guide communications of marketing departments for advertising campaigns, internal administrators for communications, etc. While the claims are limited to analyzing brain data that is imaging data (so that merely analyzing non-imaging brain such as EEG data may not fall within the scope of the claims), the scope of the claims is nevertheless broad. Various neuroimaging means are described in the specification and dependent claims including PET scans, fMRI, and MEG imaging techniques. The valuable application of neuroimaging to testing communication responses, broad claim scope and early priority date (extending back to 1998) are amongst the factors contributing to identifying the ‘319 patent as a key non-invasive neurotechnology patent.
Neuroimaging as a means for validating whether a stimulus such as advertisement, communication, or product evokes a certain mental response such as emotion, preference, or memory, or to predict the consequences of the stimulus on later behavior such as consumption or purchasing. Subjects are exposed to stimuli of varying types. Their brain responses are then measured by any one or a combination of neuroimaging devices. The results of neuroimaging are then used to predict future behavior of the subject and those similarly situated with respect to purchase or consumption of products, based upon the non-subjective evidence of neuroimaging.
Illustrative Claim 1. A method of evaluating stimulus materials comprising:
- –selecting subjects;
- –exposing the subject to stimulus materials;
- –monitoring the subjects in a neuroimaging device while exposing the subjects to the stimulus materials;
- –collecting data from the neuroimaging device; and analyzing the data.
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