This article reviews a wide range of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies conducted in the field of consumer neuroscience to (1) highlight common interpretative approaches of neuroimaging data (i.e., forward inference and reverse inference), (2) discuss potential interpretative issues associated with these approaches, and (3) provide a framework that employs a multi-method approach aimed to possibly raise the explanatory power and, thus, the validity of functional neuroimaging research in consumer neuroscience. Based on this framework, we argue that the validity of fMRI studies can be improved by the triangulation of (1) careful design of neuroimaging studies and analyses of data, (2) meta-analyses, and (3) the integration of psychometric and behavioral data with neuroimaging data. Guidelines on when and how to employ triangulation methods on neuroimaging data are included. Moreover, we also included discussions on practices and research directions that validate fMRI studies in consumer neuroscience beyond data triangulation.
Bibliographical noteThe authors would like to thank the editors, TR, Hilke Plassmann, Carolyn Yoon, and Joseph T. Devlin, for their thoughtful remarks and their guidance through the review process and the reviewers for helpful remarks on earlier versions of this article.
This work has benefited from financial support of Lingnan University, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China.
- consumer neuroscience
- data triangulation
- neuroimaging database