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Dissertation zugänglich unter
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:18-70465
URL: http://ediss.sub.uni-hamburg.de/volltexte/2014/7046/


Psychophysiological processes as a window into consumer decision-­making : the role of visual attention, arousal, and valence for preference constructionin discrete choice experiments

Psychophysiologische Prozesse als Fenster zu Konsumentenentscheidungen : die Rolle von Aufmerksamkeit, emotionaler Erregung und Valenz für die Konstruktion von Präferenzen in diskreten Wahlentscheidungen

Rasch, Carsten

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Freie Schlagwörter (Deutsch): Präferenzkonstruktion , psychophysiologische Prozesse , diskrete Wahlexperimente , visuelle Aufmerksamkeit , Affekt
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): Preference construction , psychophysiological processes , discrete choice experiments , visual attention , affect
Basisklassifikation: 85.40 , 77.50
Institut: Wirtschaftswissenschaften
DDC-Sachgruppe: Wirtschaft
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Hauptberichter: Teichert, Thorsten (Prof. Dr.)
Sprache: Englisch
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 29.10.2014
Erstellungsjahr: 2014
Publikationsdatum: 17.11.2014
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: At the outset, the theoretical basis of the phenomenon of constructed and stable preference is addressed (Chapter 2). Economic and behavioral perspectives on preference, as well as their eventual synthesis, get a closer look (Chapter 2.1). The economic perspective is well equipped with methodologies that measure preference that is traditionally presumed to be stable (Chapter 2.2). By contrast, behavioral research has clearly shown that preferences are easily changed, and basic cognitive processes might play a major role (Chapter 2.3). As cognitive processes are not easy to measure subjectively, this work utilizes psychophysiological indicators, namely visual attention, affective valence, and arousal.
The functions of visual attention in consumer decision-making are unpacked in Chapter 3. In an empirical study, N = 178 subjects took part in a discrete choice experiment about shoes with the parallel measurement of visual attention with mouse clicks (e.g., Cooke, 2006). Results show that gaze bias to the later choice indicates the strategy in use at specific stages of decision-making. Furthermore, a particular process, first gaze bias on the later chosen option, then on the option that does not get chosen, could indicate the construction of preference.
In a second empirical study (related to chapters 4, 5, and 6), affective valence and arousal were captured during discrete choice experiments for charity decisions, face decisions, and yogurt decisions (N = 49). Arousal was measured by skin conductance (Groeppel-Klein, 2005), and valence was measured by facial electromyography (J. T. Larsen, Norris, & Cacioppo, 2003).
The results of the integration of valence in choice models (Chapter 4) support the assumptions of the somatic marker theory (Bechara & Damasio, 2005), in which affect flags valence and thus stable preference. The joint consideration of positive and negative affect further reveals that, for difficult decision tasks, low ambivalence or indifference results in less constructed preferences (Nowlis, Kahn, & Dahr, 2002).
Related to arousal, which is addressed in Chapter 5, a more differentiated role is suggested. In cases with less prior experience with the particular decision task, arousal can function as a complexity-reducing mechanism that eventually leads to preference construction (Paulhus & Lim, 1994). If there is more experience with the decision task, it is suggested that arousal functions as a value marker, indicating the expression of stable preferences (Bechara & Damasio, 2005). Furthermore, the findings suggest that the assumption of an optimal level of arousal for stable preference expression is dependent on the difficulty of the decision task. An optimal level of arousal can lead to more stable preference expressions in demanding decision tasks.
The joint consideration of arousal and valence in Chapter 6 indicates that both processes might play a constituting role in preference expression. Furthermore, the combined analysis of arousal and valence yields the possibility to consider the effect of discrete affect programs (basic emotions) in preference decision-making (Loewenstein & Lerner, 2003). However, the heterogeneity of preference as well as affective patterns makes the interpretation of results explorative yet seminal.
In Chapter 7, the results of the studies are consolidated and led back to basic cognitive processes. Overall, the results promote the feasibility of disentangling constructed and stable preference by considering the immediate cognitive and affective processes in discrete choice experiments. The use of psychophysiological methods for preference research deepens our understanding of the basic psychological processes and might further open the window into consumer decision-making.

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