"For the first time, researchers have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to determine what parts of the brain are active when people consider whether to purchase a product and to predict whether or not they ultimately choose to buy the product. The study appears in the journal Neuron and was co-authored by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University and the MIT Sloan School of Management.
This study challenges the conventional economic account of consumer purchases, which views consumers as deciding between the immediate pleasure of making a purchase and the delayed pleasures of alternative things for which the same money could be used. The results of this paper support an alternative perspective that views consumers as trading off the immediate pleasure of making a purchase against an immediate pain: the pain of forking out the money for the item."
-- Science Blog via Neuromarketing