Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shopping with the Grim Reaper in mind

Date:
February 22, 2011
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
Fear of death is a universal human emotion, but does it influence our behavior as consumers? A new study has explored how fear of the Grim Reaper translates into Canadian buying patterns. The research has several implications for marketers in these uncertain times.

Fear of death is a universal human emotion, but does it influence our behaviour as consumers? A new study, conducted by a graduate student at Concordia University's John Molson School of Business, has explored how fear of the Grim Reaper translates into Canadian buying patterns. The research has several implications for marketers in these uncertain times.

"It's impossible to watch the news without being bombarded with reports of murders, terrorist attacks, life-threatening epidemics or environmental disasters," says Alex Davidson. He explored the link between consumer behaviour and fear of death in his master's thesis: "The Impact of Mortality Salience Effects on Consumer Behaviour."

"We wanted to learn how existential anxiety affects consumers and what kinds of buying decisions they are likely to make when reminded of their mortality," continues Davidson.

Death or the dentist?

As part of the study, Davidson designed an online survey of 540 Canadian men and women aged 18 to 40. Among the findings, increased awareness of death made respondents with lower self esteem more likely to purchase prestige items. Yet for people with high self esteem and older respondents, thoughts of mortality made them less likely to purchase prestige items.

Half the survey group answered a series of open-ended questions to increase their subconscious awareness of death -- or in technical terms of their "mortality salience." Participants were asked to describe what emotions the thought of their own death aroused and their expectations about the death process.

The remainder of participants -- the control group -- was asked to describe their thoughts about going to the dentist and the type of pain it might cause. All participants answered another set of consumer behaviour questions.

Attitudes to charity unaffected

Increases in mortality salience also made younger individuals and those with lower self esteem less inclined to take chances when confronted with what they saw as risky purchase decisions.

"This was the first study of its kind to gather data in this area using online consumer panels," says thesis supervisor Michel Laroche, Concordia's Royal Bank Distinguished Professor in Marketing. "The approach permitted the testing of a hypothesis on a sample that reflects the entire Canadian population."

"Every day people are confronted with purchase decisions," observes Davidson. "Through this study, we've shown that mortality salience plays a greater role than we realized in that decision-making process. This type of research has implications for marketing, but it also offers a better understanding of economic history and the evolution of consumer practices."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "Shopping with the Grim Reaper in mind." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122202.htm>.
Concordia University. (2011, February 22). Shopping with the Grim Reaper in mind. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122202.htm
Concordia University. "Shopping with the Grim Reaper in mind." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222122202.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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