NMSBA "Code of Ethics for the Application of Neuroscience in Business"

The NMSBA Code of Ethics (available online here) is modeled on the ICC/ESOMAR "International Code on Market and Social Research" (available onilne here). It is the first industry-specific ethics statement to address the unique issues of neuromarketing research, outlining ethical practices in 12 areas that all members of the NMSBA adopt as a condition of membership.

Article 1 identifies three core principles:

  • Neuromarketing researchers shall comply with the highest research standards enforced in their respective countries and use accepted scientific principles.
  • Neuromarketing Researchers shall not act in any way that could negatively impact the reputation and the integrity of the Neuromarketing research profession.
  • Neuromarketing findings shall be delivered to clients without exaggerating or misrepresenting the neuromarketing insights beyond what is scientifically accepted.

Subsequent articles address ethical issues in the following areas:

Integrity

Covers principles of subject safety and honesty.

Credibility

Calls for criticisms of neuromarketing projects or firms to be handled within the industry rather than publicly.

Transparency

Covers principles of methodological openness, clarity, and information sharing with clients.

Consent

Requires explicit participant consent processes, voluntary participation, and full disclosure of procedures, protocols and study objectives.

Privacy

Covers the collection, storage, and protection of private information.

Participant Rights

Covers how participants must be fully briefed on all their rights as research subjects, including the right to withdraw at any time for any reason.

Children and Young People

Requires that no research will be performed on subjects under 18 years of age without parental consent.

Subcontracting

Requires neuromarketing vendors to disclose to clients any subcontractors used in research studies.

Publication

Covers the requirement in any public presentation of results to clearly differentiate findings from interpretations of findings.

Commitment

Requires NMSBA members to commit to these ethical practices or face termination of their membership.

Implementation

Requires members to show acceptance of the code by publishing it on their websites.

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