The question of how the political parties and political leaders are perceived by the voters has been one of the prominent fields of political marketing. Recently, brain-imaging technologies have increasingly been used for the marketing research due to their higher level of measurability and objectiveness. The main aim of the current study is to dissociate the voters’ perception by means of practical neuroimaging technologies with regards to their expected tendencies. Thus, an optic neuroimaging method (fNIRS) has been used in the current study because of its practicality and reliability in the literature. Thirty actively working party assembly members (30 Males, M: 34.76) from the top two parties of Turkey according to 2011 elections have been invited to participate in the study on a voluntary basis. These participants were exposed to the slides consisting of a political party leader and an adjective and they were asked to respond in a 3-Likert scale depending on their position. The participants were selected to be from opposite political parties to observe a potential contrast effect. The obtained physiological data has been analyzed with respect to expected positions of the participants and their behavioral measures were not included in the analyses. The results indicate that there are 5 channels (V1, V5, V7, V9, V11) demonstrating the contrast effect at a statistically significant level. The findings of this exploratory empirical study are important in terms of developing and applying new methods both in political marketing specifically and in marketing research more generally.
Keywords: Optic neuroimaging (fNIRS), voters’ perception, political leaders, political brand