New research links consumer behavior to the weather

November 14, 2005

It's a sun-drenched weekend afternoon. You're at a music store listening to demo CDs and happily watching the world go by outside the store's window. Consequently, you leave the store with a load of CDs. But did the music grab you? Or was it the weather? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests you are the proud owner of those CDs not because you fell in love with them as much as because you were simply having a good day.

"Although previous studies have shown that people in a positive mood evaluate products more favorably than people in a negative mood, little is known about how specific extraneous emotions impact evaluations," write the authors of the study, Anick Bosmans (Tilburg University, The Netherlands) and Hans Baumgartner (Pennsylvania State University). "This research demonstrates that consumers are more likely to rely on their specific extraneous emotions while evaluating products when these emotions 'match' with their salient goals."

The researchers also noted a discernable difference between two types of emotions, achievement versus protection. The former relates to feelings of cheerfulness or dejection, while the latter refers to quiescence and agitation.

"That is, people who were confronted with an achievement appeal evaluated the advertised product as more positive when they felt cheerful (because they previously described a life event which made them feel cheerful), whereas people who were confronted with a protection appeal evaluated the product as more positive when they felt quiescent (because they previously described a life event which made them feel quiescent)," explain Bosmans and Baumgartner.
-end-
Bosmans, Anick and Hans Baumgartner. "Goal-Relevant Emotional Information: When Extraneous Affect Leads to Persuasion and When It Does Not." Journal of Consumer Research, Dec 2005.

University of Chicago Press Journals

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