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How Happiness Impacts Choice


  • Mogilner, Cassie

    (University of PA)

  • Aaker, Jennifer

    (Stanford University)

  • Kamvar, Sepandar



Consumers want to be happy, and marketers are increasingly trying to appeal to consumers' pursuit of happiness. However, the results of six studies reveal that what happiness means varies, and consumers' choices reflect those differences. In some cases happiness is defined as feeling excited, and in other cases happiness is defined as feeling calm. The type of happiness pursued is determined by one's temporal focus, such that individuals tend to choose more exciting options when focused on the future, and more calming options when focused on the present moment. These results suggest that the definition of happiness, and consumers' resulting choices, are dynamic and malleable.

Suggested Citation

  • Mogilner, Cassie & Aaker, Jennifer & Kamvar, Sepandar, 2011. "How Happiness Impacts Choice," Research Papers 2084, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:2084

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gilles Laurent & Raphaelle Lambert-Pandraud, 2010. "Why Do Older Consumers Buy Older Brands? The Role of Attachment and Declining Innovativeness," Post-Print hal-00528378, HAL.
    2. Patti Williams & Aimee Drolet, 2005. "Age-Related Differences in Responses to Emotional Advertisements," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(3), pages 343-354, December.
    3. Hakkyun Kim & Kiwan Park & Norbert Schwarz, 2010. "Will This Trip Really Be Exciting? The Role of Incidental Emotions in Product Evaluation," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(6), pages 983-991, April.
    4. Meloy, Margaret G, 2000. " Mood-Driven Distortion of Product Information," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(3), pages 345-359, December.
    5. Cassie Mogilner & Jennifer Aaker, 2009. ""The Time vs. Money Effect": Shifting Product Attitudes and Decisions through Personal Connection," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 277-291.
    6. Kahn, Barbara E & Isen, Alice M, 1993. " The Influence of Positive Affect on Variety Seeking among Safe, Enjoyable Products," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 257-270, September.
    7. Leonardo Nicolao & Julie R. Irwin & Joseph K. Goodman, 2009. "Happiness for Sale: Do Experiential Purchases Make Consumers Happier than Material Purchases?," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 188-198.
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