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HCD Research, Missouri School of Journalism Partner to Offer Advanced Communication Science Service

— Combining biometric and eye-tracking measures provides unique consumer insights —

Flemington, NJ, April 10, 2012 – The Missouri School of Journalism and HCD Research announced that they will join forces to conduct research studies using a communication science approach, which encompasses biometric measures and eye-tracking technology to provide deeper insights into consumer preferences.

This collaboration is part of a comprehensive research effort between HCD Research, the PRIME (Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects) Lab and Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI).  The PRIME Lab and RJI are part of the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri.

Through the alliance, the organizations will conduct research studies that will enable advertisers and publishers to design advertising campaigns and news media sites that are more effective at communicating their messages to their target audiences.

“Our goal is to assist clients in creating more ‘brain friendly’ ads and websites using a comprehensive communication science approach,” said Paul Bolls, Ph.D., associate professor of strategic communication and co-director of the PRIME Lab in the Missouri School of Journalism. Dr. Bolls co-authored the book "Psychophysiological Measurement and Meaning: Cognitive and Emotional Processing of Media" released last August.

"Our approach to conducting communication research is grounded in a holistic and more science-based methodology that is currently lacking in many neuromarketing models, explained Bolls. “We will combine our scientific knowledge of how the brain processes media with our expertise in applying multiple measures to obtain biometric, survey and behavioral data to solve complex communication challenges for clients.

The partnership represents an ideal academic/industry collaboration that will significantly advance basic knowledge of media effects and provide clients with deeper insights into effective communication tactics," stated Bolls. Dr. Bolls is a leading expert in applying biometric measures to obtain data on how the brain processes media content.

According to Glenn Kessler, president and CEO of HCD Research, the biometric measures are a natural extension of the company’s eye-tracking and concept testing capabilities. “We’ve had great success using our eye-tracking technology to optimize clients’ websites and ad concepts, which is why we were excited about Dr. Bolls’ extensive track record with biometric measurements. The combination of our research tools will enable us to provide clients with more meaningful and comprehensive consumer data.” 

As part of the growing collaboration, the organizations are currently conducting a scientific research study on the psychology of media audiences. The study is designed to generate a deeper understanding of psychological motives that drive media preferences and use and to help news outlets and advertisers optimize content and delivery platforms for their target audiences.

The study will identify how online media use habits and preferences are determined by unconscious and biological motivations that determine how the human brain processes information. The project is funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) and results are expected to be available this spring.

Headquartered in Flemington, NJ, HCD Research conducts communications research for clients in the pharmaceutical, financial, food and beverage, politics and entertainment industries. For additional information on the company’s research services go to:

Founded in 2004, RJI has launched more than 60 journalism initiatives (, most of them in collaboration with the nation’s leading private media companies and professional journalism and advertising organizations. RJI brings together professional journalists, scholars and industry leaders to collaborate and connect with citizens, and its programs are aimed at improving journalism in the service of democracy.

The Donald W. Reynolds Institute works with citizens, journalists and researchers to strengthen democracy through better journalism. RJI seeks out the most exciting new ideas, tests them with real-world experiments, uses social science research to assess their effectiveness and delivers solutions that citizens and journalists can put to use in their own communities.

Since publishing the student-staffed University Missourian on Sept. 14, 1908, the Missouri School of Journalism has been the international leader in hands-on journalism education, also known as the "Missouri Method." The first to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the field, the School is also the distinguished home of several national journalism organizations, mid-career professional programs and a thriving research agenda.

Editors/Reporters: For more information on the alliance, or to speak with Glenn Kessler, president and CEO, HCD Research, please contact Vince McGourty, HCD Research, at (908) 483-9121 or (

Brian Steffens, RJI director of communications:, 573-882-8251



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