Branding and a child's brain: An fMRI study of neural responses to logos

Amanda S. Bruce, Jared M. Bruce, William R. Black, Rebecca J. Lepping, Janice M. Henry, Joseph Bradley C. Cherry, Laura E. Martin, Vlad B. Papa, Ann M. Davis, William M. Brooks, Cary R. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Branding and advertising have a powerful effect on both familiarity and preference for products, yet no neuroimaging studies have examined neuralresponse to logos in children. Food advertising is particularly pervasive and effective in manipulating choices in children. The purpose of this study wasto examine how healthy children±s brains respond to common food and other logos. A pilot validation study was first conducted with 32 children to selectthe most culturally familiar logos, and to match food and non-food logos on valence and intensity. A new sample of 17 healthy weight children were thenscanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Food logos compared to baseline were associated with increased activation in orbitofrontalcortex and inferior prefrontal cortex. Compared to non-food logos, food logos elicited increased activation in posterior cingulate cortex. Results confirmedthat food logos activate some brain regions in children known to be associated with motivation. This marks the first study in children to examinebrain responses to culturally familiar logos. Considering the pervasiveness of advertising, research should further investigate how children respond at theneural level to marketing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbernss109
Pages (from-to)118-122
Number of pages5
JournalSocial cognitive and affective neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Brands
  • Children
  • Food logos
  • Neuromarketing
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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