Memory Contributions to Decision Making

Zhihao is committed to connecting the rich literature in consumer behavior and cognitive science to advance our understanding of consumer choices. A main focus of Zhihao's work is to build and test formal, mechanistic models of open-ended consumer decisions that involve option generation from memory retrieval, as well as to explore their consumer welfare and managerial implications, such as predicting the return on investment (ROI) of brand awareness campaigns. 

Representative publication:

  • Zhang, Z., Wang, S., Good, M., Hristova, S., Kayser A. S., & Hsu, M. (2021). Retrieval-constrained valuation: Toward prediction of open-ended decisions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(20).


Modeling Consumer Mindset with Big Data

The second focus of Zhihao's research seeks to decode key aspects of the consumer mindset, e.g. memory, knowledge, and attitude, using big data, especially large-scale text data from the real world. Leveraging cutting-edge natural language processing (NLP) techniques, Zhihao and his colleagues have shown that consumer brand memory and knowledge, as well as their evolution over time, can be accurately inferred from text data such as Wikipedia and New York Times. These findings may provide flexible and fully scalable tools for marketers in better understanding and tracking the "share of mind" of their brands and products.

Representative publication:

  • Zhang, Z., Kayser A. S., & Hsu, M. Automated inference of consumer brand recall from large-scale text corpora. In revision.

Informing Law with Neuroscience

Another stream of Zhihao's work involves the application of neuroscientific tools to important questions in law and public policy that lack reliable empirical answers. Zhihao is particularly interested in the "reasonable person standard" that plays a key role in many areas of law. Zhihao and his colleagues have developed an approach for improving the objectivity in determining trademark similarity perceived by the "reasonable person" using brain imaging, and are working to expand this work to other domains of law with similar challenges.

Representative publication:

  • Zhang, Z., Good, M., Kulikov, V., van Horen, F., Kayser A. S., & Hsu, M. From Scanner to Court: Toward a neuroscientifically informed “reasonable person” test. ​Under review.