Cross Cultural Differences in Delight

Ana Valenzuela, Baruch College
Barbara Mellers, University of California, Berkeley
Judy Strebel, San Francisco State University
Delight is the augmented pleasure that accompanies a positive outcome, such as a gift or a sales promotion, due to its unexpectedness. To be delighted, consumers must be surprised. Surprise makes an enjoyable event even more pleasurable. Past research shows that East Asians are less likely than Westerners to experience surprise. If that is the case, East Asians may react differently to unexpected positive outcomes. We investigate whether East Asians are less delighted than Westerners by an unexpected promotional gift since East Asians are more likely than Westerners to think “holistically” and exhibit the hindsight bias (or the tendency to “have known it all along”). Relative to Westerners, East Asians report less pleasure and less surprise with unanticipated promotional gifts. However, when an unexpected gift is attributed to luck, East Asians experience even more delight than Westerners. For East Asians, luck is a means for external control that turns an unexpected outcome into a delightful one.
[ to cite ]:
Ana Valenzuela, Barbara Mellers, and Judy Strebel (2008) ,"Cross Cultural Differences in Delight", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 678-679.