Measuring and Judging Emotional Aspects of Consumption Experiences

Laurette DubT, UniversitT de MontrTal
[ to cite ]:
Laurette DubT (1994) ,"Measuring and Judging Emotional Aspects of Consumption Experiences", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 21, eds. Chris T. Allen and Deborah Roedder John, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 15.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 21, 1994      Page 15


Laurette DubT, UniversitT de MontrTal

Retrospective reports of consumption emotions have been found to be powerful predictors of satisfaction judgments and other post-purchase attitudes and behaviors. This special topic session addressed issues related to how one experiences, remembers, and judges consumption emotions and uses them to form satisfaction judgments in the context of service industries. If understanding emotional experiences is important for physical goods, it becomes particularly important for services where much of the consumption process occurs on site.

The first paper presented by Richard L. Oliver reviewed structural representations of consumption emotions and described a field study that provided evidence suggesting that positive and negative affectivity may be the primary dimensions underlying the emotinal experience of consumption with arousal as an additional dimension whose directionality of effect may be service specific. In addition, the results supported a two-appraisal model of satisfaction judgments with cognitive (e.g., assessment of functional or comparative outcomes) and affective (e.g., the experienced emotions) processes operating in tandem. In contrast, quality judgments were found to be primarily cognition-driven.

The second paper presented by Marian Friestad investigated memory for very positive and very negative encounters using self-reported data from a national random sample of consumers of a variety of service industries. Results provided partial support for a "mobilization-minimization" hypothesis that proposes a sequential two-stage model of how people respond to and remember consumption emotions. When measured by the ability to re-live the feelings, analyses revealed that memory for positive and negative emotional experiences decayed at a different pace over long-term periods: memory for positive emotions remained relatively stable whereas memory for negative emotions diminished markedly.

The third paper presented by Laurette DubT and Michael S. Morgan reported a field study that investigated how consumption emotions change during service transactions that extend over time and how momentary experiences "add up" into retrospective judgments. The dynamic modeling of momentary experiences revealed a pattern of habituation for both positive and negative emotions. Results of regression analyses suggest that retrospective reports of consumption emotions are not simple averages of successive momentary states but they also reflect the pattern of change. In addition, the relative weights of momentary states in retrospective judgments varied as a function of their temporal location, with first and last consumption emotions being significantly more determinant than those experienced in the middle of the service process.

The discussants, Robert A. Westbrook and Douglas M. Stayman, provided insightful comments with respects to further conceptual and empirical development in the domain of consumption emotions and their role in satisfaction judgments. Both emphasized the need to inquire into the differentiated nature of positive and negative affect, such as anger, sadness, joy and pride. Westbrook specifically questioned whether positive affect and negative affect have a common meaning across studies, since investigators typically base their measurements on different types of affective experiences. He further suggested the value of examining the other elements of the overall emotional response syndrome, such as cognitive appraisal, facial expression and nonverbal behavior, emotional experience, physiological response and action impulses. Finally, Westbrook suggested that future research inquire into the specific sources of emotional response and their unique effects beyond satisfaction judgments. Stayman highlighted individual and situational factors that may influence consumption emotions. He also raised the need to provide experimental testing for alternative processes that may moderate single and interactive effects of consumption emotions and cognitions in forming satisfaction judgments.