40+ Weird and Confusing Neuro-research Terms With Their Definitions

We are pretty sure that while reading about neuromarketing (consumer neuroscience) you’ve encountered some words which were unclear to you. Taking this into account we decided to prepare this glossary, as we understand that a lot of unfamiliar words add confusion and may prevent you from a proper understanding of the topic. In this glossary, you’ll find the most useful terms and definitions, which you may face while preparing to neuro-research and working with neuro-tools.

 consumer neuroscience glossary

AOI (Area of interest)


An area of visual content which you can highlight in order to collect data about it. The logo, brand name, slogan, etc. may serve as an AOI.  Note: at CoolTool platform for product shelf testing, AOIs are set automatically.

Basic emotions


Emotions that have been scientifically proven to have a certain facial expression associated with it. It means that each emotion can be recognized regardless the age, race or physical peculiarities of the respondent’s face. There are 7 basic emotions: delight, surprise, skepticism, sadness, fear, disgust and denial (find out more).

Behavioral economics


The field of research studying the impact of social, psychological, cognitive and emotional factors on the economic decisions of individuals and organizations as well as the influence of such decisions on macro and microeconomic processes.

Brain activity


Processes which take place in the brain and result in cognitive, emotional and other types of reactions to external stimuli.

Brain waves

Electrical signals emitted by neurons of our brain. Signals can be converted into waves and further decoded by special devices. Brain waves have different amplitudes depending on one’s state of mind, as well as the type of external stimuli. EEG differentiates the following waves - Delta, Theta, Alpha, Low Beta, Mid Beta, High Beta, and Gamma. Learn more about brain waves here


A short process (up to 1 minute) of sensors' setting up for each respondent which is required in order to enable software to collect data as accurately as possible. Before analyzing respondent's facial expressions or viewing patterns the neuromarketing system has to decode the physical parameters of the respondents face.

Click participants count

Shows the number of respondents who clicked on the particular AOI

Consumer neuroscience

A set of scientific tools, marketing tools and methodologies which are used for analyzing customers’ interactions with products and services as well as their buying behavior. The collected data is further used for the improvement of products as well as marketing and selling strategies. Can also be known as neuromarketing

EEG (electroencephalogram)

A record of electrical activity generated by neurons within our brain. This activity changes depending on our state of mind as well as the reactions of our brain and body to external stimuli.

EEG headset

A device with one or multiple sensors for reading off electric signals generated by our brain. When a respondent feels, sees or hears something, specific parts of the brain are activated, producing electromagnetic waves. An EEG device captures them and transforms into a graphical image, allowing the understanding of how eternal stimuli influence and define respondents’ reactions. 



EM (emotion measurement)

A tool, able to decode customer’s facial expressions and link them to corresponding emotions.  It helps to better understand how customers feel about the tested material.

ET (eye tracking)

A technology enabling you to track customer’s viewing patterns and understand what a person is looking at during the testing.

Eye tracker

A hardware for data collection. Eye tracker captures the eyes movement of customers and collects data about on its changes, as well as highlights areas of particular interests for the customer. Thanks to its compact design, this device can easily be used for conducting eye tracking projects both in the office and in the field.

Eye tracking data

Data on customers’ sight fixation obtained in course of the neuromarketing test. This data may be presented in form of graphs or heat maps. 

Eye tracking metrics

These are quantitative indicators and visualized data collected during the course of the research conducted with the application of an eye-tracking technology.

Eye tracking software

A special program for eye tracking tests. Today it comes in different forms. For example, CoolTool software is compatible with simple, affordable and effective hardware which allows you to obtain qualitative data.

Facial expression

A correlation of facial traits which visually correspond to a particular emotion. It’s an essential component of the body language which facilitates communication. 

FACS (Facial Action Coding System)

It’s a guide for analyzing facial expression. It detects the slightest facial muscle movements and changes of facial expression. In neuromarketing, it’s used for a better understanding of real customers' emotions towards the tested material. 

Fixation duration

Displays how long (in seconds) respondents looked at the AOI

Fixation participant count

Shows how many unique respondents looked at the AOI

Fixations before

Shows all of the respondents’ gaze fixations that occurred before respondents looked at the selected AOI.

Fixations count

Displays the number of fixations within an AOI

Gaze plot (gaze mapping)

A graph which demonstrates the pattern of respondents’ eye movement.

GSR (Galvanic Skin Response)

Demonstrates the correlation of emotions with sweat secretion. The activity of sweat glands (the highest concentration of which is in the feet and hands) and therefore the amount of sweat produced is directly linked to the emotions we are experiencing at any particular moment.  GSR is also sometimes referred as to as EDA (electro-dermal activity).

Heatmap (heat map)

A convenient tool for the visualization of results from customers’ eye movement monitoring. Heatmap is based on the analysis of the number and length of customers’ glances at the particular areas of tested materials.

Human behavior

Physical, mental, emotional and social activities of a person which result in different forms of interaction with the outside world.

IAT(Implicit Association Test)

A test which measures the strength of association between two concepts and thus allows you to understand the respondent’s preferences. For instance, if you have two pairs of associations: (soft drinks = good, alcohol drinks = bad), and you agree with this faster than with an opposite associations pair – (soft drinks = bad, alcohol drinks = good) than you are most likely to prefer soft drinks over alcohol drinks in real life.

IPT(Implicit Priming Test)

Implicit Priming Test is a combination of a reliable Implicit Association Test approach with the simple but effective idea of Semantic Priming Task. This type of test helps to understand respondents’ real attitude to the tested objects by comparing the speed of response provision with the combination of objects and various statements or characteristics. IPT is easily adjustable, isn’t boring for respondents and allows you to segment the audience in the report according to their towards the object 1 or the object 2.

Mouse tracking

A technology which helps to understand how customers navigate your website. It gives access to data on how customers move the mouse indicator around the screen while interacting with the interface and content of your website.

Muscles of facial expression

Facial muscles responsible for generating the expression of different emotions on our face.


Statistical data and other information obtained during the course of the neuromarketing research.


A marketing research domain which studies customers’ sensorimotor, cognitive and emotional activity with the help of neuroscientific tools (EEG, eye movement tracking, etc). It allows you to improve customers’ experience and better tailor products to their needs. Neuromarketing can also be known as consumer neuroscience

Observation count

Displays the number of visits and re-visits to an AOI.

Observation duration

Displays for how long (in seconds) respondents looked at the particular AOI.

Offline surveys

The main difference from online surveys is that these questionnaires are completed offline, usually on paper.

Online behavior

A set of reactions and choices customers make while interacting with different types of online content. Online behavioral patterns determine how customers make their purchase decisions.

Online surveys

Questionnaires which are filled in by customers online. The main purpose of such surveys in neuromarketing is to collect as much information about customers’ preferences and behavioral patterns as possible.

Opacity map

The opposite version of the heat map. The opacity map highlights the "hottest" areas (those which attracted most of the customers' attention) and tones down other areas.

Prior fixations

Demonstrates how many times a respondent looked outside of the AOI before looking at it for the first time.

Reexamined participants count

Shows how many unique respondents referred to the particular AOI more than once.


Rapid movement of both eyes between several phases of fixation in the same direction.


An external or internal irritant to which our brain reacts with certain emotion or activity.

Stroop effect test

A test named after its creator John Ridley Stroop which is aimed at researching the reaction time of a person to a text or color stimuli. This test is an effective demonstration of the differences between automatic processing of visual information versus the conscious control of the processing process.

Subconscious reaction

Processes taking place on the subconscious level of our mind which are not «visible» for our consciousness but nevertheless have a major impact on decisions we make. As a rule, we are unable to track subconscious reactions. Nevertheless, they have a direct influence on our conscious brain activity.

Survey scripting

The process of survey customization with the help of different tools and methods offered by particular neuromarketing research software.

Time to first fixation

Displays how long (in seconds) it took a respondent to look at the AOI for the first time

Time to click

Shows time (in seconds) it took a consumer to click on the AOI for the first time

Time to complete

Shows how long it took a respondent to complete the particular task (for example, finding the Buy button or Company's contacts).

Time from initial notice to click

Shows the timeframe between the moment when a respondent noticed a particular AOI and the moment when he or she clicked on it

We’ll sometimes update this glossary in order to keep you posted on the latest trends in the industry. Bookmark the link to this page and you’ll always have a handy tool at your disposal which will facilitate your work with this topic.  

Read also:

How to Do Rebranding Successfully

What is Unconscious Insight in Marketing?

How to Create a Memorable Logo