Research Summary

Advertising and the Economics of Attention

by Thales S. Teixeira


Using novel technologies, such as eye- and face-tracking, to gauge attentional and emotional (facial) reactions to advertising, Professor Teixeira studies how advertising effectiveness can be optimized. Through complex statistical models of consumer response, he relates ad content, branding features, and viewer characteristics to viewing behavior. He attempts to answer questions that include:
  • When and why do consumers avoid watching TV and Internet video commercials?
  • How can advertisers reduce “advertising avoidance” by applying attention-grabbing or emotion-generating mechanisms?
  • What branding works best in Internet ads?
Professor Teixeira is also developing a conceptual framework for studying the rules that govern the transaction of commercial attention (i.e., toward advertising), a scarce cognitive resource, among firms in a market. Some examples of macro-effects questions that he attempts to answer are:
  • What is the societal utility of advertisements? Why has it changed over time?
  • How can consumer attention be measured, efficiently priced, and transacted?
  • How is successful brand building accomplished?