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How spatial and auditory confinement evokes the consumer's need for variety : the influence of environmental and personal factors on product choice

Rump, S. (2015) How spatial and auditory confinement evokes the consumer's need for variety : the influence of environmental and personal factors on product choice.

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Abstract:In multiple contexts, people tend to be influenced in their actions by their direct surroundings. This assumption is applicable to chronic processes, as well as to acute common situations in which we interact with other people or consume goods. In general, people appreciate a certain level of freedom and independence in several areas of life. If this condition of free choice and moving is not provided, considerable emotional and behavioral reactions can be expected among human beings who face a certain level of restriction. The personal constitution in terms of stable characteristics of the person may regulate how this reaction manifests. The present study deals with the influence of environmental restrictions on consumer reactions within an experimental setting. Participants were assigned to two different conditions of confinement: confinement in space created by fellow participants and furniture, and confinement which was generated by disturbance through noise in an experimental setting. It was examined how people display reactant behavior as a response to the restrictions they faced. In the given conditions, individuals were provided the possibility to choose nutritional products on their own. The assumption was that people would engage in a more exotic, individual, or varied product choice in situations of high confinement and disturbance as a means to regain personal freedom. It was hypothesized that the feeling of “freedom”, or relieving oneself from confinement, is obtained by an altered choice of products. The results showed that spatial confinement was indeed evoking a feeling of being restricted, while auditory confinement showed to be not that effective. Participants in spatially confining conditions tended to choose a higher number of products, while it was not empirically significant that a more exotic product choice was a result of a confining surrounding. Moreover, people in conditions of high spatial confinement perceived less pleasure and dominance than their counterparts with more space available, while auditory confinement had the effect that arousal levels were higher for people who listened to relaxing music than for those confronted with disturbing noises. Above that, people with a highly reactant personality perceived less pleasure when lingering in a condition of high spatial confinement, as opposed to people who generally act less reactant. Future research should further concentrate on customers´personality traits and different kinds of atmospherical confinement.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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