How consumers respond to guilt and shame
Features Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute| October 16, 2014| 9.00 pm IST Consumers racked with guilt and shame tend to focus on concrete details of a product at the expense of the bigger picture, says a study co-authored by an Indian-origin researcher. These results offer insight for companies in industries such as fitness or personal care that might allude to guilt and shame in their advertisements. To combat any negative effects, mentioning a daily yoga class (detail) could offset feelings of guilt and promising improvements in overall health (big picture) could temper feelings of shame. "We examined the emotions of guilt and shame and found that when consumers feel guilty, they tend to focus on concrete details at the expense of the bigger picture," said Nidhi Agrawal from the University of Washington in the US. "On the other hand, when consumers feel ashamed they are more likely to think abstractly and form a more holistic view," Agrawal added. In one study, consumers were asked to write about a time when they felt either guilty or ashamed. After their responses were collected, the consumers were then asked to read an essay and choose whether they wanted to answer questions or demonstrate a task to test how well they understood the topic. Consumers who wrote about feeling guilty preferred to answer questions (focusing on the details), while consumers who wrote about feeling ashamed preferred to demonstrate a task (focusing on the bigger picture). The study appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research. IANS
Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.