Neuro-evaluation of price influence on skin care products sensorial profile


Belcorp R&D Center, Carretera Central Norte Km 22, Vereda Canavita, Tocancipá, Colombia


Studies on the purchase decision indicate that the perceived value about a product is related to the sensory experience that consumers have with this, but variables such as brand and price can affect their judgment. The present study demonstrates the influence of price changes in the sensory perception of a cosmetic facial treatment, using electroencephalography as a technique to detect brain activation patterns associated with pleasure and interest for a stimulus. The experimental design began with the identification of associated brain patterns to elements of high and low values, which were used for the execution of second phase of the study, where it was showed that a high price labeled on a product improved their perceived sensory attributes, even compared to an identical formula but labeled with a lower price. The results suggest that in cosmetic products, the reward perceived by consumers is related to both sensory experience and external elements that increase the perceived value, like the price.


On its groundbreaking book Decoded (1), Barden P. mentions that the neurologic decision of a purchase is based on a simple equation: “net value = reward – pain”. When designing cosmetics the reward obtained is directly linked to consumer experience with the product based on attributes such as texture, fragrance, packaging, benefits and efficacy, among others. As reward associated to branding increases the perceived value when there is a favorable value/price relation, increasing the price should lead to improved customer satisfaction and increased consumer experience perceived value with anti-aging products. The demonstration of said hypothesis is the main goal on this research.

Luxury products claim that higher the price is, higher the quality should be. Nevertheless, even when high prices trigger activity on the cerebral cortex pain area (2), they also increase perceived value as shown on Barden equation because prices are directly related to quality on the basis that everybody agrees that “quality has a price”. In a very interesting research by Hilke Plassmann, a German neuro-economist, he studied how a ...