The effects of valence‐based and discrete emotional states on aesthetic response

Yin‐Hui Cheng
Published Online:
05 Feb 2014
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 48 Issue 6

Additional Options

There is increasing recognition that consumer aesthetics—the responses of consumers to the aesthetic or appearance aspects of products—has become an important area of marketing in recent years. Consumer aesthetic responses to a product are a source of pleasure for the consumer. Previous research into the aesthetic responses to products has often emphasized exterior factors and visual design, but studies have seldom considered the psychological aesthetic experience of consumers, and in particular their emotional state. This study attempts to bridge this gap by examining the link between consumers’ emotions and their aesthetic response to a product. Thus, the major goal of this study was to determine how valence‐based and discrete emotional states influence choice. In Studies 1 and 2, positive and negative emotions were manipulated to implement two different induction techniques and explore the effect of emotions on participants’ choices in two separate experiments. The results of both experiments confirmed the predictions, indicating that aesthetic responses and purchase intention are functions of emotional valence, such that both are stronger for people in a positive emotional state than for those in a negative emotional state. Study 2 also used a neutral affective state to establish the robustness of this observed effect of incidental affect. The results of Study 3 demonstrate that aesthetic response and purchase intention are not only a function of affect valence, but also are affected by the certainty appraisal associated with specific affective states. This research, therefore, contributes to the literature by offering empirical evidence that incidental affect is a determinant of aesthetic response.

© 2013 International Union of Psychological Science