Short courses


Consumer Neuroscience: What Science Can Really Offer Neuromarketing

  • 12 hours
  • 2 days


How can neuroscience be used to inform marketing and better understand consumer behaviour?

This short course examines the latest trends in neuromarketing and will help you separate the facts from the hype. It will help you make informed decisions about using these methods in your marketing activities.

The aim is to equip you with knowledge about the opportunities neuroscience can offer marketing, as well making you aware of its limitations.

Course content

UCL neuroscientists will provide a comprehensive overview of consumer neuroscience with the aim of separating the hype from its true potential. 

You'll look at:

  • functional neuroanatomy and basic principles of brain organisation
  • key neuromarketing tools including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalography (EEG), eye tracking, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
  • the unique capabilities and important limitations of these methods, plus practical examples of their application
  • important consumer neuroscience research in marketing, pricing, branding and product design to highlight areas of future potential

In addition, you'll get to participate in an MRI scanner session in UCL's state-of-the-art facilities. You'll feel the magnetic field for yourself and experience the latest technology as a volunteer from your group has their brain scanned. The course team will cover some brain basics and will then provide a personalised tour of the volunteer's brain scan.

Who this course is for

This course is aimed at 1) anyone involved in the promotion of products, services or brands and 2) anyone who has ever wondered how neuroscience can be used to help understand consumer behaviour.

This could include:

  • market research agencies
  • brand and business consultants
  • PR firms
  • advertising agencies

It's also suitable for anyone who uses the above kinds of services or agencies and wants to be more informed about what's on the market in terms of neuroscience in marketing.

If you would like to book a bespoke workshop for your team, please look at our Team Workshop option.

Course structure

The course is delivered over two days, 9am to 5pm.

There will be a combination of presentations, interactive discussions and practical demonstrations in a small group (10-20 people).

You'll get hands-on experience of the methodologies that can be used such as eye tracking, implicit attitude testing, biometrics and MRI.

At the end of the course you'll receive a UCL certificate of attendance.

Learning outcomes

This course will help you:

  • appreciate the range of options available in consumer neuroscience, including different methodologies and the difference between 'neuroscience as marketing' and 'neuroscience for marketing'
  • recognise the key capabilities and limitations of neuroscience methods used in marketing
  • understand the practical opportunities available and their associated time and resource implications
  • to better critically evaluate consumer neuroscience campaigns, separating inflated hype from realistic claims

Benefits to you or your employer

By taking this course you'll:

  • learn directly from leading academic neuroscientists from one of the top neuroscience institutions in the world
  • get an honest and open discussion of the capabilities and limitations of neuroscience in marketing, without any hype
  • get first-hand exposure to MRI facilities so you can understand what's really involved in using this technology
  • have the opportunity to network with other professionals working in or interested in the field of consumer neuroscience within a small group
  • develop a relationship with UCL neuroscience researchers which will offer you additional credibility when speaking on this topic internally or externally with your clients

You'll also:

  • be able to make more informed decisions about whether to commit to these techniques
  • understand which claims by agencies are based in real science and which are over-emphasising results, saving your business money and time

Find out more

Read more background on this course in an interview with market research agency, BrainJuicer, who attended the workshop.

Course team

Joseph P. Devlin

Joseph P. Devlin

Joe is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Head of Experimental Psychology at UCL. He started in artificial intelligence but found himself much more interested in how the human mind works. After training in neuroimaging at Cambridge and Oxford, he established a reputation as a leading researcher in how the human brain processes language. He then took up his current position as Head of Experimental Psychology at UCL. Joe has collaborated on various projects with a variety of media partners, including the BBC, the Times, Guardian and Daily Telegraph.

John Hogan

John Hogan

John focuses on the cognitive science of how we interact with the world, in both the research and the marketing worlds. He's studied the neuroscience of speech and reading. As a consultant, he's provided insights from cognitive neuroscience to clients such as Virgin Media, Digitas LBi, Leo Burnett, and MacClaren McCann.

Learner reviews

Will Headley - Senior Director at Brainjuicer (market research agency)

"We have a point of view on various scientific methods out there, like facial coding. Since attending this short course, we've been refining our point of view and how we can advise our clients on neuroscience in marketing.

The knowledge we gained from this course has given us more confidence in the advice we give and eliminated the doubts we had. It's reinforced some of our previous knowledge and reassured us on some aspects, but also revealed some things we didn't know.

I've already referenced UCL and some of the things we learned on the course in our client discussions and webinars and it adds credibility to our point of view: that UCL says EEG can't measure that but an fMRI can; that agency can't deliver what you want because the science isn't sound etc.

It's definitely added to our confidence and credibility and to be able to reference UCL expertise has been central to that. I think a lot of our clients would benefit from coming on this course so they understand the methods properly and what neuromarketing can or cannot do for them."

Course information last modified: 26 Oct 2021, 15:50