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Going against the flow: The effects of dynamic sensorimotor experiences on consumer choice

Mina Kwon, PhD R. Adaval
Journal of Consumer Research. January 1, 2018

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Abstract

Sensorimotor experiences of going against the flow can affect the choices consumers make. Eight experiments show that consumers who experience the sensation of going against the flow pick alternatives that are normatively not preferred (experiments 1a and 1b). These effects are evident only when the sensations are dynamic and self-experienced (experiments 2a and 2b), subjective feelings are elicited (experiments 4a and 4b), and no other objective, external norm information is supplied (experiment 5). Experiences of going against the flow typically involve both movement and direction and are represented in memory schematically. Re-experiencing these sensations leads to the activation of this schematic representation and elicits a feeling-based behavioral disposition to do something different, or to go against one’s initial inclination (experiment 3), leading participants to pick an option that is normatively not preferred.

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