The Versatility of Social Media

By Ashley Levitt

This photo, from, depicts one subject’s eye movement as they browse the Virgin Mobile website. The process of observing these movements is called eye tracking.  In the graph, areas shown in red are places the subject looked at more frequently than areas shown in green or featuring no color at all. This information is important because it helps marketers determine what attracts consumers to certain stimuli, helping them to better sell their product.

This summer I am a research assistant at the Tippie College of Business within the University of Iowa, where I conduct eye tracking and heart rate analysis on participants’ reactions to various stimuli. The technical term for this research is neuromarketing, because it is used to analyze consumers’ latent, neurological motives. Essentially, if marketers know why consumers react in a positive or negative manner to their product, it is more beneficial than simply knowing how they react. Knowing why allows for repeat successes and avoidance of failures.

Currently there are not a lot of academic websites devoted to neuromarketing, which is why social media is such an important part of my assistantship. To establish an online presence for neuromarketing research, my supervisor, Assistant Professor William Hedgcock, has asked me to use WordPress to design his website. Ultimately, as with any user of social media, our goal is to become the go-to website in the field. This would establish our credibility while promoting the Tippie College of Business brand, which again ties back to marketing.

This assistantship has taught me that social media is not only useful, but it’s a necessary element in virtually any career. I feel fortunate to have gained so much insight this early on, because I know social media is a skill I will use for the rest of my life.

If you’re interested in finding out more about neuromarketing, or you simply want to keep track of what I’m working on, please visit


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