Hang-Yee Chan 陳恆義

Lecturer in Marketing · King’s College London · +44 20 784 85847 · mail@chanhangyee.com

I employ data analytics to examine how information spread in the society, and uncover the link between brain, behavior and market.

consumer neuroscience neuroeconomics fMRI machine learning information sharing


How and when does consumer valuation take place during video advertisements? Real-time measurement of brain responses could shed light on both the psychological processes involved and the temporal dynamics as the experience unfolds. In this study, we leverage automated meta-analysis of the existing neuroscientific literature (Neurosynth) and transform neural activity patterns during ad exposure into more interpretable brain-based measures (expression scores of 670 terms such as ‘memory’ and ‘emotion’). Brain activity related to information processing (semantic and perceptual) and higher-order responses (affect and mentalizing) during ad exposure predicted post-exposure ad liking, as early as in the first 5-10 seconds. Overall, this study highlights the role of early-onset mentalizing in ad liking and proposes an analysis approach for consumer neuroscience that results in more interpretable findings.

Main collaborators: Maarten Boksem (RSM), Ale Smidts (RSM), Vinod Venkatraman (Temple)
Output: Manuscript under review

Social influence is a strong driver of behavior, which has been demonstrated again in recent work on persuasion during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent and highly publicized controversies have highlighted how difficult it is to purposefully influence others who hold opposing opinions about polarized issues like COVID-19 vaccination. During the rollout of the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign, we asked participants who held pro-COVID-19 vaccination attitudes to watch TikTok video clips expressing pro-COVID-19 vaccination viewpoints while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and rated their intention to share these clips with specific others on social media: everyone with access to their social media feed (broadcasting), a vaccine-hesitant friend (counter-attitudinal narrowcasting) or a vaccine-enthusiastic friend (pro-attitudinal narrowcasting). Preliminary results suggest that when it comes to sharing with people who disagree with us, similar behavioral responses may be the result of different neural and psychological processes.

Main collaborators: Christin Scholz (UvA)
Output: Presentation at Annual International Communication Association Conference (2022)

Information transmission in a society depends on individuals’ intention to share or not. Yet, little is known about whether being the gatekeeper shapes the brain’s processing of incoming information. Here, we examine how thinking about sharing affects neural encoding of information, and whether this effect is moderated by the person’s real-life social network position. In an functional magnetic resonance imaging study, participants rated abstracts of news articles on how much they wanted to read for themselves (read) or—as information gatekeepers—to share with a specific other (narrowcast) or to post on their social media feed (broadcast). In all conditions, consistent spatial blood oxygen level-dependent patterns associated with news articles were observed across participants in brain regions involved in perceptual and language processing as well as higher-order processes. However, when thinking about sharing, encoding consistency decreased in higher-order processing areas (e.g., default mode network), suggesting that the gatekeeper role involves more individualized processing in the brain, that is, person- and context-specific. Moreover, participants whose social networks had high ego-betweenness centrality (i.e., more likely to be information gatekeeper in real life) showed more individualized encoding when thinking about broadcasting. This study reveals how gatekeeping shapes our brain’s processing of incoming information.

Main collaborators: Christin Scholz (UvA), Emily Falk (UPenn), Matthew O'Donnell (UPenn), Elisa Baek (USC)
Output: Cerebral Cortex paper

Communicating a brand's image clearly and effectively to consumers is crucial for building brand equity. While these marketing efforts aim at reinforcing the associations between the brand and its desired user and usage imagery, how strongly and consistently these associations are forged in consumers’ minds — and thus how effective such advertising is — is difficult to quantify and measure with self-report instruments. In this project, we compare consumers’ brain responses during passive viewing of visual templates (photos depicting various social scenarios) and brain responses during active visualizing of a brand's image, and then they generate individual neural profiles of brand image that correlate with the participant's own self-report perception of those consumer brands. In aggregate, these neural profiles of brand image are associated with perceived cobranding suitability and reflect brand image strength rated by a separate and bigger sample of consumers. This neural profiling approach offers a customizable tool for inspecting and comparing brand-specific mental associations, both across brands and across consumers. It also demonstrates the potential of using pattern analysis of neuroimaging data to study multisensory, nonverbal consumer knowledge and experience.

Main collaborators: Ale Smidts (RSM), Maarten Boksem (RSM)
Output: JMR paper


  • Cosme, D., Scholz, C., Chan, H. Y., Doré, B. P., Pandey, P., Carreras-Tartak, J., Cooper, N., Paul, A., Burns, S. M., Falk, E. B. (in press). Message self and social relevance increases intentions to share content: Correlational and causal evidence from six studies. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
  • Parelman, J. M., Doré, B. P., Cooper, N., O’Donnell, M. B., Chan, H. Y., Falk, E. B. (2022). Overlapping functional representations of self and other related thought are separable through multi-voxel pattern classification. Cerebral Cortex, 32(6), 1131–41. open_in_new
  • Chan, H. Y., Scholz, C., Baek, E., O’Donnell, M. B., Falk, E. B. (2021). Being the gatekeeper: How thinking about sharing affects neural encoding of information. Cerebral Cortex, 31(8), 3939–49. open_in_new
  • Chan, H. Y., Smidts, A., Schoots, V. C., Sanfey, A. G., Boksem, M. (2020). Decoding dynamic affective responses to naturalistic videos with shared neural patterns. NeuroImage, 216, 116618. open_in_new
  • Chan, H. Y., Smidts, A., Schoots, V. C., Dietvorst, R. C., Boksem, M. (2019). Neural similarity at temporal lobe and cerebellum predicts out-of-sample preference and recall for video stimuli. NeuroImage, 197, 391–401. open_in_new
  • Chan, H. Y., Boksem, M., Smidts, A. (2018). Neural profiling of brands: Mapping brand image in consumers’ brains with visual templates. Journal of Marketing Research, 55(4), 600–15. open_in_new


Lecturer in Marketing

King‘s College London
June 2022 — Present

Postdoctoral Researcher

University of Amsterdam / University of Pennsylvania
September 2019 — June 2022

Visiting Scholar

Falk Lab, University of Pennsylvania
October 2018

Visiting Scholar

Knutson Lab, Stanford University
September — December 2017


Rotterdam School of Management

PhD in Marketing (Consumer Neuroscience)

summa cum laude

Dissertation title: Neural representations of consumer experience
Rotterdam, 2014 — 2019

École Normale Supérieure

Master of Research in Cognitive Sciences
Paris, 2013 — 2014

Kyoto University

Master of Human and Environmental Studies
Kyoto, 2008 — 2010