Optimum Stimulation Level Theory and the Differential Impact of Olfactory Stimuli on Consumer Exploratory Tendencies

Ulrich R. Orth, Oregon State University
Aurelie Bourrain, ISARA Lyon
ABSTRACT - Consumer response to ambient scent was examined by testing a comprehensive structural equation model derived from optimum stimulation level theory. Pleasantness of ambient scent was manipulated in a laboratory setting, using pre-tested aroma components. Previously suggested direct effects of pleasantness on consumer stimulation could not be confirmed. Instead, the pleasantness of an ambient scent was found to moderate effects of consumer actual stimulation on exploratory tendencies. Effects were stronger in the unpleasantly scented condition, where consumer stimulation affected sensory stimulation-seeking (risk taking, variety-seeking) positively and cognitive stimulation-seeking (curiosity-motivated behavior) negatively. In addition, exploratory tendencies were influenced by consumer optimum stimulation level, regardless of scent pleasantness.
[ to cite ]:
Ulrich R. Orth and Aurelie Bourrain (2005) ,"Optimum Stimulation Level Theory and the Differential Impact of Olfactory Stimuli on Consumer Exploratory Tendencies", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 613-619.