Big brand names (such as Apple) excite parts of the human brain that are associated with warmth, reward and identity, new research claims.

A Washington Post report explains the research, which found that familiar brands evoke a faster and more positive response among young adults.

Less well-known brands seems to take more work to process, demanding the mind use memory and evoking - for some reason - negative emotions.

The findings are scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.

They are described as "neuroeconomics", an emerging 'science' in which psychologists, neuroscientists, radiologists and marketing experts work together to figure out how consumers think.