The Influence of Observed Body Movements on Consumer Behavior

Studies on embodied cognition have shown that body movements and muscle contractions influence judgments and behaviors. Since the observation of other people's movements tends to elicit neural activations similar to those elicited by executed movements, we assumed that already the observation of body movements affects consumer behavior. Our findings support this assumption for empathic observers. When observing arm flexion, a movement that is associated with grabbing and pulling something closer, high empathic observers drank more of an offered drink. When observing an arm flexion, a defensive movement that is involved in keeping distance and essentially incompatible with consumption, empathic observers drank less. For less empathic observers, we found the inverse pattern.


Simon Ineichen, Arnd Florack, and Oliver Genschow (2009) ,"The Influence of Observed Body Movements on Consumer Behavior", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 997-998.


Simon Ineichen, University of Basel, Switzerland
Arnd Florack, Zeppelin University, Germany
Oliver Genschow, University of Basel, Switzerland


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36 | 2009

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