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Marketing Professors Given $1.1 Million Grant from NIH to Study the Efficacy of Anti-Drug Ads

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NYU Stern marketing professors Eric Greenleaf, Geeta Menon, Tom Meyvis, and Vicki Morwitz, with principal investigator David Heeger, a professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science, and Uri Hasson, an assistant professor of psychology at Princeton, were awarded a two-year, $1.1 million grant by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse. The grant supports their research project entitled, “The Neural Correlates of Effective Drug Prevention Messages.”

The project will assess the effectiveness of television anti-drug ads (ADAs) in deterring drug use by combining methods from marketing research with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and eye movement data. The professors will study ADAs using a novel inter-subject correlation (ISC) analysis that they have recently shown to be a powerful tool for exploring the brain’s function and organization during natural viewing of complex stimuli. The experiments will provide a detailed characterization of the neural activation patterns associated with engagement in the ads, distinguish between the engagement level and the effectiveness of ads, identify the kinds of engagement associated with effective ads, and identify interventions for enhancing the effectiveness of ADAs. Finally, the research is a platform for studying the basic neural processes underlying viewer engagement.