FEATURE25 April 2018

Crowd pleasers: using neuroscience to identify crowdfunding success

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Knowing which crowdfunding projects will get off the ground is challenging, but a recent study into brain activity can now help predict their success. Jane Bainbridge talks to the study’s lead scientist, Alexander Genevsky.

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Raising finance for a project by asking a large number of people to donate a small amount of money has taken off in the past few years. This form of fundraising, which started in 2012, turned the traditional model of asking a few people for large sums of money on its head and became possible because the internet and social media give a reach that would have been impossible in the pre-internet age.

The projects that are crowdfunded – be it kick-starting a new business or getting a one-off project off the ground – are varied, but knowing which ones will be taken up by the crowd has been challenging.

Alexander Genevsky, of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, and a team of researchers scanned brain activity to see if they could make more accurate predictions of individual choices. The study also showed that activity in one area of the brain could better predict the success of crowdfunded projects ...