Half the Thrill Is in the Chase: Twisted Inferences from Embodied Cognitions and Brand Evaluation
Do our bodies control our minds? That people approach positive outcomes is not surprising, but do people also infer an outcome is rewarding from their bodily sensation of approaching it, and does this positivity transfer indirectly to other outcomes linked in memory to the original negative outcome? We posit that, because people usually approach reward, they mistakenly infer that approach must equal reward. Thus, a sensation of approach, even toward a negative outcome, makes them feel more positively toward the negative outcome and associated outcomes. Experiment 1 demonstrates a positive effect of embodied movement in space toward an otherwise aversive product. Experiments 2 and 3 additionally show positive effects of psychological movement in time, using evaluative conditioning procedures, to associated stimuli in memory. Implications for downward spirals in habit formation-the idea that approaching one bad habit might increase liking of other bad habits-and affect regulation are discussed. (c) 2009 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
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