Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Feeling Cramped While Shopping? Variety Provides Relief

Date:
May 13, 2009
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
When consumers find themselves in stores with narrow aisles, they react in a surprising way: they seek variety. According to a new study, confined spaces might help people diversify their choices.

When consumers find themselves in stores with narrow aisles, they react in a surprising way: they seek variety. According to a new study confined spaces might help people diversify their choices.

Authors Jonathan Levav (Columbia University) and Rui (Juliet) Zhu (University of British Columbia, Vancouver) built on prior research on "psychological reactance," behaviors consumers employ to attempt to regain their freedom in situations where they perceive it to be threatened.

"For example, when consumers' freedom of choice is limited by stock-outs, they might exhibit reactance by evaluating the unavailable options as more appealing," the authors explain. "Extending this line of research, in this paper, we investigate an important yet overlooked factor that can also limit consumers' freedom: physical confinement."

According to the authors, in Western cultures, choice is viewed as a way to exert control over one's environment. And when people feel confined, apparently their shopping habits change.

The researchers designed a series of laboratory experiments to test the hypothesis that confining spaces lead to greater variety seeking. In the first study, participants shopped for candy in a laboratory space modified to create both wide and narrow aisles. The participants in the narrow aisle chose a greater variety of candy bars than consumers in the wide aisle. In a subsequent study, the authors found that participants in narrow aisles were more likely to choose unfamiliar and unique brands. The results were amplified among people who tend to have high reactance tendencies. In a real-world study, the researchers found that increased customer density led to more varied choices among supermarket customers.

"Our results suggest that in larger, less crowded stores, manufacturers should be less keen to deliver a wide variety of products in a category, and should instead focus on stocking a few of their better-known or dominant product offerings," the authors write. "In contrast, manufacturers should prefer to deliver a greater variety to more crowded stores, as customers in those stores will be more likely to diversify their choices in a category."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Levav et al. Seeking Freedom through Variety. Journal of Consumer Research, 2009; 090422105129026 DOI: 10.1086/599556

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Feeling Cramped While Shopping? Variety Provides Relief." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090512102604.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2009, May 13). Feeling Cramped While Shopping? Variety Provides Relief. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090512102604.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Feeling Cramped While Shopping? Variety Provides Relief." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090512102604.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins