Uma R. Karmarkar
Assistant Professor of Business Administration
Uma Karmarkar is an assistant professor of business administration in the Marketing Unit and teaches the first year marketing course in the required MBA curriculum.
Professor Karmarkar's research examines the neural and psychological factors that underlie consumer decision-making. Some of her recent work targets how timing and/or uncertainty influence perceptions of value. Her findings have been published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Neuron, and Learning and Memory. In addition, her work has attracted coverage by media outlets including Newsweek, Reuters, Scientific American, and The New York Times.
Professor Karmarkar holds two Ph.D. degrees – one in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles, and more recently, another in marketing from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Cost Conscious? The Neural and Behavioral Impact of Price Primacy on Decision-Making
Price is a key factor in most purchases, but can be presented at different stages of decision-making prior to a purchase. We examine the sequence-dependent effects of price and product information on the decision-making process for both behavior and brain. Early exposure to price, or price primacy altered the process of valuation, as seen via altered patterns of activity in the brain area medial prefrontal cortex. Overall, combining this neural finding with data from behavioral experiments showed that early exposure to price can shift consumers' purchasing question from "Do I like it?" to "Is it worth it?"
Believe Me, I Have No Idea What I Am Talking About: The Effects of Source Certainty on Consumer Involvement and Persuasion
This research explores the effect of source certainty-that is, the level of certainty expressed by a message source-on persuasion. The authors propose an incongruity hypothesis, suggesting that source certainty effects depend on perceived source expertise. In three experiments, consumers receive persuasive messages from sources of varying expertise and certainty. Across studies, low expertise sources violate expectancies, stimulate involvement, and promote persuasion when they express certainty, whereas high expertise sources violate expectancies, stimulate involvement, and promote persuasion when they express uncertainty. Thus, nonexpert (expert) sources can gain interest and influence by expressing certainty (uncertainty).