THE MODERATING EFFECT OF MOTIVATIONAL ORIENTATION
ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ACTIVATION AND PLEASANTNESS
VELITCHKA D. KALTCHEVA
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
I am honored to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the following people for their
contribution to my successful experience at the University of Florida.
First of all, I would like to thank Professor Barton Weitz, the Chair of my
Dissertation Committee, for his continual encouragement, patience, and support during
the past five years. Without his guidance, this dissertation could have never been written.
I would also like to thank Professors Joseph Alba, Richard Lutz, Alan Cooke,
Christopher Janiszewski, Joel Cohen, Amir Erez, Alan Sawyer, and Steven Shugan for
their helpful suggestions and comments.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST O F TA B LE S ........................................................................
LIST O F FIG U R E S ......................................................................
A B ST R A C T ...............................................................................
1 INTRODUCTION .............................................................
Behavioral Implications of Pleasantness ...................................
"Inverted-U"-Shaped Association ...........................................
Individual Differences ........................................................
2 INFLUENCES ON SHOPPING BEHAVIOR............................
3 DEFINITION OF THE THEORETICAL CONSTRUCTS .............
Motivational Orientation ......................................................
The Motivational Distinction in Marketing Contexts .....................
A ctivation ............................................................ ...........
Pleasantness ............................................................ ........
4 THEORETICAL MODEL ...................................................
5 EMPIRICAL SECTION: OVERVIEW .................................... 46
6 STUDY ONE .................................................................. 52
7 STUDY TWO .................................................................. 58
8 STUDY THREE ............................................................... 64
9 STUDY FOUR ................................................................ 71
10 GENERAL DISCUSSION ................................................... 76
R esu lts ......................................................................... 76
Empirical Limitations ........................................................ 76
Im plications ................................................................... 77
Avenues for Future Investigation ........................................... 78
C conclusion ..................................................................... 80
R EFER EN C E S .......................................................................... 81
A MEASURES OF THE CONSTRUCTS .................................... 93
B STUDY 1: INSTRUCTIONS ................................................ 94
C STUDY 2: INSTRUCTIONS ................................................ 96
D STUDY 3: INSTRUCTIONS ................................................ 98
E STUDY 3: DESCRIPTIONS OF THE PRODUCTS ..................... 102
F STUDY 3: PERFORMANCE CHECK..................................... 104
G STUDY 4: INSTRUCTIONS ................................................ 105
H HYPOTHESIS-GUESSING PROBE ....................................... 108
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH............................................................ 109
LIST OF TABLES
2-1 Shopping Behavior as a Function of Pleasantness and Activation ........ 21
3-1 Telic vs. Paratelic Motivations ............................................... 38
5-1 Motivational Manipulation: Scenarios ........................................ 50
5-2 Means, Standard Deviations, and Cronbach's Alphas ..................... 51
9-1 Study Four: Experimental Stimuli ............................................. 74
LIST OF FIGURES
3-1 Extraordinary context ............................................................ 39
4-1 Theoretical framework ........................................................... 45
6-1 Study One: Experimental stimuli ............................................... 56
6-2 Study One: Results ................................................................ 57
7-1 Study Two: Experimental stimuli .............................................. 62
7-2 Study Two: Results ............................................................. 63
8-1 Study Three: Experimental stimuli ............................................. 69
8-2 Study Three: Results .............................................................. 70
9-1 Study Four: Results ............................................................. 75
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE MODERATING EFFECT OF MOTIVATIONAL ORIENTATION
ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ACTIVATION AND PLEASANTNESS
Velitchka D. Kaltcheva
Chairman: Barton A. Weitz
Major Department: Marketing
The hedonic (pleasant or unpleasant) quality of affective states moods and
emotions exercises a pervasive influence on informational processing, evaluative
judgments, and shopping attitudes and behaviors. Activation (the subjective experience of
one's expenditure of energy) has been found to affect pleasantness. Initial investigations
obtained an "inverted-U"-shaped association: a moderate degree of activation maximizes
pleasantness. Subsequent studies identified consistent individual differences with respect
to the amount of stimulation that people experience as pleasant.
The present theoretical framework identifies another moderating factor -
motivational orientation which not only contributes to the theoretical comprehension of
the association between activation and pleasantness, but also provides an effective means
for the successful management of a consumer's subjective experience. The conceptual
model distinguishes two motivational orientations: telic (instrumental, extrinsic) and
paratelic (experiential, intrinsic). The telic motivational orientation arises when a
consumer becomes aware of an outstanding need, a phenomenological state inferior to
one's subjective adaptational level, and strives after the satisfaction of this need (e.g., to
replenish the household stock of groceries). In contrast, the paratelic orientation arises
when a consumer strives to reduce one's disposable reserve of energy, without
recognizing a pending need the satisfaction of which might require a part or the whole of
The theoretical model proposes that motivational orientation -telic or paratelic -
moderates the influence of activation on pleasantness: activation is perceived as a cost
and experienced as unpleasant in telic motivational states, but is regarded as a benefit and
experienced as pleasant in paratelic states.
Four empirical studies furnished consistent support for the conceptual proposition.
Seven different experimental manipulations of activation three pairs of naturalistic
shopping contexts, two pairs of color schemes, and two pairs of musical selections -
yielded the interaction effect. Two different experimental manipulations of motivational
orientation provided additional support for the internal validity of the results.
By identifying the antecedent factors which determine the hedonic quality
(pleasantness) of subjective experiences in the course of consumption and shopping, the
theoretical model elucidates important aspects of consumer behavior and furnishes
definitive guidelines for effective marketing management.
Behavioral Implications of Pleasantness
The hedonic (pleasant or unpleasant) quality of affective experiences moods
(i.e., enduring affective states which the individual does not or cannot attribute to a
particular cause) and emotions (transient affective states which the individual attributes to
a particular cause) (Clore, Schwarz, and Conway 1994. pp. 326-327; Russell and
Feldman Barrett 1999. p. 806) has increasingly attracted systematic investigation
because of its pervasive influence on memory, persuasion, and shopping behavior.
Pleasantness influences both encoding into and retrieval from memory.
Unpleasant subjective states utilize attentional capacity (Ellis 1990, 1991; Ellis and
Ashbrook 1988) or discourage processing (Hertel and Hardin 1990; Hertel and Rude
1991), and, in consequence, impair the elaboration and organization of information (Ellis,
Thomas and Rodriquez 1984; Leight and Ellis 1981; Potts, Camp, and Coyne 1989;
Watts and Cooper 1989) and interfere with retrieval (Ellis and Ashbrook 1988; Ellis,
Thomas, McFarland. and Lane 1985). The hedonic quality of the current subjective
experience facilitates the encoding and recall of congruent material, enhances congruent
encoding of ambiguous material, and promotes recall of material which has been encoded
in a similar affective state (Blaney 1986; Bower 1981, 1991; Forgas and Bower 1988;
Singer and Salovey 1988).
The hedonic quality of a subjective experience affects both the processing
strategy (systematic or heuristic) and the attitudinal outcome (favorable or unfavorable)
of evaluative judgments. Pleasantness encourages systematic processing for involving
persuasive communications, but fosters heuristic processing for uninvolving messages
(Mano 1997). Isen (1993) advances the proposition that people who are having a pleasant
subjective experience are inclined to perceive an involving communication as an
enjoyable intellectual challenge and address it in a systematic manner. Schwarz (1990)
maintains that pleasant feelings indicate the facilitation or achievement of an outstanding
goal which renders the elaborate processing of incoming information unnecessary; in
contrast, unpleasant states signal the obstruction of a current goal which calls for a
scrupulous examination of all available data. Another explanation proposes that people
who are enjoying a pleasant affective state refrain from a punctilious scrutiny of an
uninvolving message because it might disrupt their affective state (Isen, Means, Patrick,
and Nowicki 1982).
On the occasions when individuals are incapable or unwilling to elaborate on the
arguments of a persuasive communication, pleasantness influences attitudinal favorability
directly; conversely, when people are capable and! or willing to scrutinize the message,
pleasantness affects their attitudes by means of the thoughts which the message provokes
(Batra and Stayman 1990; Petty, Schumann, Richman, and Strathman 1993). In the
former case, the individual utilizes the hedonic quality of one's affective state as a piece
of information to include into an evaluative judgment (Schwarz 1990). In the latter case,
pleasantness brings forth congruent beliefs and memories and, in this way, biases the
interpretation of incoming information (Bower 1981, 1991; Isen, Shalker, Clark, and
Finally, the hedonic quality of a subjective experience exhibits significant effects
on a variety of shopping attitudes and behaviors. A pleasant affective state encourages
approaching orientations (Baker, Levy, and Grewal 1992; Donovan and Rossiter 1982;
Hui and Bateson 1991), promotes purchasing intentions/ spending (Sherman, Mathur, and
Smith 1997) and unplanned spending (Donovan and Rossiter 1982; Donovan, Rossiter,
Marcoolyn. and Nesdale 1994: Spies, Hesse, and Loesch 1997), prolongs the shopping
visit (Donovan and Rossiter 1982; Spies et al. 1997) and fosters an unplanned extension
of the shopping visit (Donovan et al. 1994), stimulates affiliative tendencies (Donovan
and Rossiter 1982; Dube, Chebat, and Morin 1995), and enhances satisfaction and
attitude (Sherman et al. 1997: Spies et al. 1997; Yoo, Park, and Maclnnis 1998).
In summary, the hedonic quality of a subjective state bears substantial
implications for attitudes and behaviors. This pervasive influence requires accurate
theoretical comprehension and effective management of pleasantness: i.e., identification
of the entire set of its antecedent factors, and examination of the possible mediating and
moderating relations among them.
"Inverted-U"-Shaped Association Between Activation and Pleasantness
Extensive theoretical and empirical inquiry has indicated that an individual's
degree of activation (arousal) has a consistent effect on pleasantness. Initial
investigations observed an 'inverted-U"-shaped association: a moderate degree of
activation maximizes pleasantness, whereas increasing departures from this optimal level
diminish pleasantness and intensify unpleasantness. Some theoretical models focused on
the relationship between pleasantness and psychophysiological activation (Fiske and
Maddi 1961; Hebb 1955; Leuba 1955); other models looked into the association between
pleasantness and the activating qualities of the environment, without taking into account
the intermediate psychophysiological state (Berlyne 1960, 1971; Dember and Earl 1957;
Driver and Streufert 1965; Hunt 1971; McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, and Lowell 1953).
Hebb (1955) defined the construct of arousal to indicate the vigilance function, or
drive, of a sensory event (i.e., the involuntary activation which a sensory event induces
and which does not include the voluntary activation of a purposeful response) (p. 249).
He undertook to study the association between this vigilance function and the
effectiveness of response, and advanced the conclusion that behavioral effectiveness is
maximized at a moderate level of arousal: intense arousal disrupts behavioral patterns
through the facilitation of conflicting or alternative responses, while moderate arousal
prolongs behavioral patterns (p. 250). In addition, Hebb upheld that organisms strive "to
produce an optimal degree of excitation" (Hebb and Thompson 1968, p. 759), and that an
increase in the intensity of a drive reinforces when arousal (i.e., all concurrent drives as a
whole) is at a low level, whereas a decrease in a drive reinforces when arousal is at a high
level (Hebb 1955. p. 251).
Leuba (1955) looked into the relationship between stimulation (i.e., the
involuntary activation which a stimulus produces) and learning. On the basis of empirical
evidence, Leuba advanced that organisms are inclined to learn the responses which
produce an optimal degree of aggregate stimulation (p. 28) (i.e., to acquire the responses
which, on the occasions when overall stimulation is at a low level, are accompanied by
increasing stimulation, and the responses which, on the occasions when overall
stimulation is at a high level, are accompanied by decreasing stimulation) (p. 29).
In the framework of Fiske and Maddi's (1961) theoretical model, the construct of
activation designates the excitation of an energizing mechanism in the central nervous
system which "nourishes" both involuntary and voluntary responses, while the construct
of arousal indicates the somatic manifestation of activation (pp. 18 and 21). Fiske and
Maddi introduced the construct of impact to denote the aggregate activation that all
stimuli from all sources at a point in time produce (p. 14). Three properties of
environmental stimuli meaningfulness, intensity, and variation have an effect on
activation (p. 14). Fiske and Maddi advanced several theoretical propositions with respect
to activation: an individual's degree of activation varies positively with the aggregate
impact of concurrent stimulation (p. 19); a particular degree of activation maximizes the
effectiveness of performance for any individual task (p. 31); individuals modify their
activation so as to approximate the optimal range for the task at hand (p. 35); a
characteristic or normal degree of activation is associated with every stage of an
individual's wakefulness cycle (p. 38); in the absence of a particular task, individuals
strive to maintain the characteristic degree of activation (p. 42); unpleasant affective
states are associated with considerable differences between the ongoing activation and
the characteristic level, pleasant affective states are associated with movement towards
the characteristic level (p. 46).
In contrast to the previous three theoretical approaches, the subsequent models
focused on the activating qualities of environmental stimuli, rather than on the
individual's psychophysiological state.
Dember and Earl (1957) attempted to identify the antecedent factors which
determine exploratory, manipulator, and inquisitive behaviors. These authors advanced
the position that all three behaviors constitute perceptual or motoric responses which
result in a contact between a portion of the surrounding environment and the individual;
on the basis of this common quality, Dember and Earl conceived of exploratory,
manipulatory, and inquisitive behaviors as a single construct, attention (p. 91).
Proceeding from the premise that individuals entertain a particular expectation about
every relevant attribute or element of a stimulus before an encounter with the stimulus,
the authors defined complexity and novelty of an attribute or element as the difference
between an individual's expectation about the particular attribute or element and his or
her perception of this attribute or element (p. 93). The overall complexity or novelty of a
stimulus equals the sum of the complexity or novelty of all its relevant attributes or
elements. Dember and Earl advanced the premise that there is an acceptable range for
complexity and novelty, and labeled the stimulus which exhibits the acceptable range as
pacer. The authors advanced the proposition that an individual apportions his or her
attention among the concurrent stimuli in proportion to their similarity to the pacer, the
modal amount of attention being focused on the pacer (p. 95).
McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, and Lowell (1953) advanced the premise that
biological conditions (pp. 44. 54) and experience (p. 58) generate adaptational levels
(expectations) with respect to the separate properties of a stimulus. At a subsequent
encounter with the stimulus, a discrepancy between the sensory event (input) and the
adaptational level might emerge along the range of a property's possible values (p. 48).
The authors advanced a principle which maintains that the aggregate discrepancy with
respect to a stimulus (i.e., the total sum of the discrepancies with respect to all relevant
properties) initiates a primary affective response: a comparatively small discrepancy
produces a pleasant affective response, a comparatively large discrepancy induces an
unpleasant response (p. 48).
Hunt (1971) attempted to provide a developmental explanation for the attraction
of moderately incongruous stimuli. He advocated the position that informational
interactions with the environment undergo three epigenetic stages. During the first stage,
infants respond (i.e., manifest attentional orientation and activation) to changes in the
ongoing input (pp. 147-149). In the second stage, the child adopts the "learning set," or
rule, that (s)he should be able to recognize the things which (s)he has previously come
upon (p. 157). This behavioral "standard" becomes the goal of all perceptual activity,
and, therefore, the child strives to regain and retain perceptual contact with familiar
persons, objects, or places (pp. 152-156). During the third stage, the child assimilates the
familiar things so well that the interest in the familiar gives way to an interest in the novel
(i.e., an interest in those things which generate an incongruity between one's internal
representation, which constitutes the comparative standard, and the perceptual input) (pp.
159-160). Once an interest in the novel appears, a principle of optimal incongruity begins
to operate. As the individual progressively assimilates one's internal representation of a
thing, object, or place to the corresponding perceptual input, the comparative standard
undergoes continual modification. In consequence, as soon as the perceptual input from a
particular stimulus approximates the individual's internal representation of (i.e., the
standard for) this stimulus in a sufficient degree, the person loses interest in the stimulus,
and directs one's interest to things, objects, or places which have become incongruous in
an optimal degree (p. 161).
Driver and Streufert (1965) attempted to provide an explanation for the
attractiveness of activating stimuli. These authors advanced the position that, just as
individuals have adaptational levels for the separate features of the physical and social
environment (e.g.. brightness, personal space), so genetic factors and experience create an
adaptational level for incongruous stimulation (pp. 49-50). In consequence, while the
individual strives to reduce all incongruities between adaptational level and perceptual
input with respect to the separate environmental features. (s)he strives to maintain the
aggregate amount of incongruous stimulation at its adaptational level as well. In case this
aggregate amount decreases below the adaptational level, the individual begins to look
for or bring about incongruous stimulation with respect to separate environmental
features (pp. 51-52). The adaptational level for incongruous stimulation generates the
highest level of pleasantness; all deviations from this level induce decreasing
pleasantness (p. 56).
Berlyne (1971) introduced the construct of arousal potential to define those
properties of environmental stimuli which tend to elevate activation (p. 70). In particular,
he emphasized the activating effects of collative properties (i.e., novelty, complexity,
incongruity, surprise, and ambiguity). The first one, novelty, designates the extent to
which a constellation of environmental stimuli is perceived as unlike anything which the
individual has previously come upon. Complexity denotes the number of non-redundant
components of a configuration. Both incongruity and surprise describe unexpected
combinations of stimuli: incongruity signifies spatial unexpectedness, while surprise -
temporal unexpectedness. Finally, ambiguity describes environmental configurations
which the individual cannot generate any definite expectations about. These collative
properties as well as the ecological (i.e., proceeding from an association with people,
events, or objects of personal significance) and some psychophysical (intensity and color)
qualities of environmental stimuli have been found to influence activation (Berlyne
1960). On the basis of empirical evidence, Berlyne advanced the principle that, for any
particular individual at a particular time, there is an optimal influx of arousal potential
and individuals strive to maintain the actual arousal potential near this optimal level
(Berlyne 1960. p. 194: 1971, pp. 81-91).
Does the extensive evidence for an "inverted-U"-shaped function entail that all
marketing stimuli the designs of products and packages (e.g., medications and
children's toys), the execution of advertising messages and shopping ambiences (e.g.,
grocery stores and amusement parks) should induce moderate activation?
Individual Differences with Respect to the Optimal Level of Stimulation
Subsequent studies have identified consistent individual differences with respect
to the amount of stimulation that people experience as pleasant. This dispositional
characteristic moderates the association between stimulation and pleasantness: an
identical intensity of stimulation is experienced as appealing by one individual and as
aversive by another (Eysenck 1967; McReynolds 1971; Mehrabian and Russell 1973).
Individual differences with respect to the optimal level of stimulation correlate
with demographic attributes and personality traits (Raju 1980; Zukerman 1979, 1994):
e.g., a dispositional preference for intense stimulation has been obtained to exhibit a
positive correlation with education and negative correlations with employment status and
age (Raju 1980). Individuals who exhibit this dispositional preference are inclined to
approach activating situations (Mehrabian 1978; Mehrabain and Russell 1973).
In marketing contexts, dispositional preferences for intense stimulation have been
found to exhibit a positive association with a multitude of attitudes and behaviors:
information-seeking in general (Joachimsthaler and Lastovicka 1984; Price and Ridgway
1982; Raju 1980: Wahlers, Dunn, and Etzel 1986), exploratory information-seeking
(Price and Ridgway 1982; Raju 1980; Steenkamp and Baumgartner 1992; Wahlers,
Dunn, and Etzel 1986), interpersonal communication with regard to marketing offerings
(Price and Ridgway 1982; Raju 1980), elaboration of advertising messages (Steenkamp
and Baumgartner 1992), variety-seeking (Steenkamp and Baumgartner 1992;
Venkatraman and Maclnnis 1985), proneness to switch brands (Raju 1980, 1984;
Wahlers, Dunn, and Etzel 1986), disinclination to engage in repetitive behavioral patterns
(Raju 1980; Steenkamp and Baumgartner 1992; Wahlers, Dunn, and Etzel 1986),
eagerness to learn about and try out novel marketing offerings (Joahimsthaler and
Lastovicka 1984: Price and Ridgway 1982; Raju 1980; Venkatraman and Maclnnis 1985;
Venkatraman and Price 1990; Wahlers. Dunn, and Etzel 1986), adoption of novel
marketing offerings (Grossbart, Mittelstaedt, and DeVere 1976; Mittelstaedt, Grossbart,
Curtis, and DeVere 1976), and readiness to undertake risks (Raju 1980; Steenkamp and
Baumgartner 1992; Wahlers, Dunn, and Etzel 1986).
An individual's optimal-stimulation level indisputably influences the hedonic
quality (pleasantness) of his or her experience with marketing stimuli (e.g., packages,
advertising messages, shopping ambiences). Contemporary marketing practice, however,
does not possess efficient tools to measure the dispositional propensities of every
individual customer in all circumstances (e.g., in shopping malls), which circumscribes
the managerial implications of this moderating factor.
Inconsistent empirical evidence with respect to environmental influences on
shopping behavior indicates to another possible moderating variable motivational
orientation which not only contributes to the theoretical comprehension of the
association between activation and pleasantness, but also provides an effective means for
the successful management of a consumer's subjective experience. The subsequent
chapter describes and analyzes this inconsistent evidence. Chapter 3 defines the
participating constructs motivational orientation, activation, and pleasantness which
constitute the building blocks of the theoretical model. Chapter 4 derives and formulates
the conceptual proposition. The following five chapters describe empirical studies which
test the proposition. The final chapter considers a number of implications, qualifications,
and extensions of the findings.
INFLUENCES OF ACTIVATION AND PLEASANTNESS
ON SHOPPING BEHAVIOR
Two different empirical approaches to the investigation of shopping behavior
provide evidence for the behavioral effects of pleasantness and activation. Some
empirical designs (e.g., Donovan and Rossiter 1982; Sherman, Mathur, and Smith 1997)
measure these subjective states directly, thereby allowing for a statistical estimation of
their effects. Other studies (e.g.. Smith and Curnow 1966; Milliman 1982) manipulate
environmental factors (e.g., musical tempo) which have been previously found to affect
activation, and, in this way, provide a basis to infer the behavioral effects of activation.
Donovan and Rossiter (1982) collected a naturalistic survey at various retailing
outlets. Having entered into a store, customers were solicited to indicate their
pleasantness and activation, and to express their expectations with respect to their
approaching orientations, the duration of their visit to the store, their affiliative
tendencies, and unplanned spending. The constructs of pleasantness and activation were
measured with Mehrabian and Russell's (1974, pp. 216-217) semantic-differential scales.
Approaching orientations were defined in accordance with Mehrabian and Russell's
(1974) conception and were assessed with a meaningful adaptation of their Approach-
Avoidance Scale (p. 221). As the duration of the visit and affiliative tendencies constitute
aspects of approaching orientations, these constructs were assessed with parts of the total
scale. A single question, "Is this the sort of place where you might end up spending more
money than you originally set out to spend?" assessed an expectation to engage in
unplanned buying. Pleasantness was obtained to enhance all dependent variables. In
contrast, the influence of activation was found to depend on the level of pleasantness:
activation fostered expectations for approaching orientations, the duration of the visit,
and affiliative tendencies in pleasant subjective states, but did not exhibit any effects in
Donovan, Rossiter, Marcoolyn, and Nesdale (1994) elaborated on the design of
Dononvan and Rossiter's (1982) study by measuring pleasantness and activation during,
rather than after, the shopping experience, and by assessing unplanned extensions of the
stay and unplanned spending in an objective manner. Customers at discount department
stores were interviewed before and after their visit. The subjective qualities of the
shopping experience pleasantness and activation were measured with Mehrabian and
Russell's (1974, pp. 216-217) scales again. In support of the previous study, pleasantness
was observed to encourage an unplanned extension of the visit and unplanned spending;
these effects were obtained to persist after partialing out customers' perceptions of the
quality and variety of the merchandise as well as their perceptions of the specialing and
value to be found in the store. Activation was found to discourage unplanned spending in
Hui and Bateson (1991) undertook to examine the behavioral implications of
subjective crowding in retailing contexts. Participating subjects were exposed to
videopresentations of a bank and a bar in a laboratory setting. Their perceptions of
crowding were measured with five seven-point semantic-differential scales: stuffy vs. not
stuffj, cramped vs. uncramped, crowded vs. uncrowded, free to move vs. restricted, and
spacious vs. confined. The assessment of pleasantness included two different measures:
the endorsement of affective adjectives on seven-point rating scales and Mehrabian and
Russell's (1974, pp. 216-217) scale. Finally, the dependent variable, approaching
orientations, was defined to include an orientation to affiliate and an orientation to stay;
both aspects were assessed with a meaningful adaptation of the corresponding portions of
Mehrabian and Russell's Approach-Avoidance Scale (1974, p. 221). Subjective crowding
was obtained to decrease pleasantness, which, in turn, was found to foster approaching
Baker, Levy. and Grewal (1992) conducted an experimental study with
undergraduate subjects in a laboratory setting. Participating subjects were exposed to
videotapes of a card-and-gift store which differed with respect to ambient (musical
backdrop and brightness) and social (friendliness and number of the sales staff)
environmental factors. The constructs of pleasantness and activation were measured by
having subjects endorse descriptive items on a six-point (1 to 6) rating scale: the
adjectives nice, dissatisfying, displeasing, repulsive, iinpleaNtinl. and uncomfortable
assessed pleasantness; the adjectives alive, inactive, drowsy, idle, lazy, and slow -
activation. The measurement of the dependent variable, intentions for patronage, was
achieved with endorsement of the statements, "The likelihood that I will shop in this store
is high," I would be willing to buy gifts in this store," and "I would be willing to
recommend this store to my friends," on a seven-point (1 to 7) Likert-type scale. Both
pleasantness and activation were found to encourage the intentions for patronage.
Dube, Chebat, and Morin (1995) undertook a laboratory experimental study to
investigate whether pleasantness and activation influence affiliative tendencies. A pretest
measured different musical selections with respect to their pleasurable and activating
qualities with Russell. Weiss, and Mendelsohn's (1989) Affect Grid, and identified six
selections for a three (activation: low, moderate, high) by three (pleasantness: low,
moderate, high) between-subjects experimental design. Participating subjects were
exposed to a simulation of a banking service where a musical selection was playing on in
the background. The measurement of the dependent variable, affiliative tendencies, was
achieved with attitudinal and behavioral-intention seven-point rating scales. The
attitudinal measure instructed subjects to express their feelings of friendliness and liking
for the banking personnel. Then subjects indicated their intentions to smile, greet, and
chat with the clerk during a hypothetical encounter. Activation was observed to
encourage affiliative tendencies on the attitudinal measure only; pleasantness was found
to enhance the dependent variable on both measures.
Sherman, Mathur, and Smith (1997) undertook to examine behavioral
implications of pleasantness and activation in a naturalistic context. The collection of the
data was carried out in a shopping mall: customers were intercepted on their way out
from a fashion store. The respondents were solicited to indicate their subjective state
during the shopping visit: six eight-point (-4 to +4) semantic differential scales happy
vs. unhappy, relaxed vs. bored, satisfied vs. unsatisfied, pleased vs. annoyed, contented
vs. melancholic, and hopeful vs. despairing assessed pleasantness; five eight-point,
form -4 to +4, semantic differential scales -frenzied vs. sluggish, stimulated vs. relaxed,
excited vs. calm, jittery vs. dull, and aroused vs. unaroused assessed activation. The
duration of the visit and spending were measured by soliciting respondents to report the
amount of time and money that they had just spent in the store. The attitude toward the
retailing facility was assessed by having respondents express their liking for the store.
Activation was obtained to prolong the duration of the visit and to encourage spending.
Pleasantness was found to foster the attitude toward the retailing facility and spending.
Spies, Hesse, and Loesch (1997) observed the behavioral effects of customers'
mood at furniture stores in Europe. The independent variable, mood, was measured by
having customers endorse descriptive adjectives on seven-point rating scales at three
points in time: before entering the store, halfway through the visit, and upon leaving the
store. The dependent variables (the duration of the visit, unplanned spending and
spending, shopping satisfaction, and intention to return) were assessed at the conclusion
of the visit. Shopping satisfaction was assessed by having subjects indicate their
contentment with the shopping trip on a five-point rating scale: intention to return was
assessed with three alternative choices: no, some time, and very soon. Mood was found to
promote the duration of the visit, shopping satisfaction, and unplanned spending. Three
different reasons for unplanned spending were looked into: finding a good bargain,
realizing that one needs the product, or simply liking it. Only the last motivation was
fostered by pleasant mood, while the first two remained unaffected. Mood did not
demonstrate any effect on intention to return and spending either.
Yoo, Park, and Maclnnis (1998) instructed their South Korean respondents to
recollect a recent visit to a department store, and to complete a self-administered
questionnaire which was to measure their affective experience during the visit and their
attitude toward the store. The endorsement of eleven descriptive adjectives pleased,
attractive, excited, contented, pride, satisfied, ignored, anxious, nullified, displeased, and
angry on seven-point rating scales made up the measure of the affective experience.
This measure yielded separate factors for pleasant and unpleasant affective states. The
assessment of the dependent variable, attitude toward the store, was achieved by having
subjects complete three seven-point semantic-differential scales: good vs. bad, like vs.
dislike, and fiavorable vs. unfivorable. A pleasant affective experience was obtained to
enhance the attitude toward the retailing facility; conversely, an unpleasant affective
experience was found to damage it.
The subsequent two projects did not measure pleasantness or activation, but
featured an experimental manipulation of environmental factors (musical volume and
musical tempo) which have previously been found to affect activation. Smith and
Curnow (1966) observed the influence of musical volume in supermarkets. A loud
musical backdrop was found to shorten the shopping visit (i.e., the difference between the
time of entry and the time of arrival at the check-out stand), but to have no effect on
spending (i.e., gross sales). Fast musical selections were found to decrease spending (i.e.,
gross sales) in a supermarket (Milliman 1982). Since musical volume (Wedin 1972) and
musical tempo (Holbrook and Anand 1990; Holbrook and Gardner 1993; Kellaris and
Kent 1991, 1993) have been found to elevate activation, Smith and Cumrnow's and
Milliman's findings suggest that activation might be anticipated to shorten the duration of
the visit and to inhibit spending in supermarkets.
Table 2-1 summarizes the empirical evidence. The findings of the different
studies are indicated with a capital letter before the corresponding reference: a capital "p"
designates that a significant positive relationship has been observed; a capital "o" that a
non-significant relationship has been obtained, and, finally, a capital "n" that a
significant negative relationship has been found.
While pleasantness has demonstrated an invariable positive association with all
shopping behaviors under study, activation has exhibited inconsistent effects. Sherman,
Mathur, and Smith (1997) obtained that activation encourages purchasing intentions and
spending, while Milliman (1982) found the opposite effect. Activation was observed to
prolong (Sherman, Mathur, and Smith 1997) or to shorten (Smith and Curnow 1966) the
duration of the visit to a retailing facility. Baker, Levy, and Grewal (1992) observed that
activation enhances approaching orientations; Dube, Chebat, and Morin (1995) obtained
activation to encourage affiliative tendencies at retailing facilities; in contrast, Sherman,
Mathur, and Smith (1997) did not find any effect on the attitude toward the facility. A
naturalistic survey which was collected at various retailing venues yielded that activation
enhances approaching orientations, fosters affiliative tendencies and prolongs the
duration of the visit, but does not influence unplanned spending, in pleasant settings, and
does not exhibit any effects in unpleasant settings (Donovan and Rossiter 1982). In
contrast, a similar survey which was collected at discount department stores did not
observe any effects on unplanned extensions of the visit and on unplanned spending in
pleasant settings as well as on unplanned extensions of the visit in unpleasant settings,
but found a discouraging effect on unplanned spending in unpleasant settings (Donovan,
Rossiter, Marcoolyn, and Nesdale 1994).
This pattern of empirical results indicates that pleasantness may be an immediate
antecedent of shopping behavior, while the influence of activation may be subject to the
moderating effect of another variable. An inspection of the inconsistent findings provides
a hint as to the possible moderating factor. Let us compare the results of Smith and
Curnow (1966) and Milliman (1982), on the one hand, with the results of Sherman,
Mathur, and Smith (1997), on the other hand. Smith and Cumrnow (1966) obtained that
loud music shortens the duration of a shopping visit at a retailing facility. Milliman
(1982) found that fast music discourages spending. Since musical volume (Wedin 1972)
and musical tempo (Holbrook and Anand 1990; Holbrook and Gardner 1993; Kellaris
and Kent 1991, 1993) have been found to intensify activation, this quality of a customer's
subjective experience may be mediating the environmental effects. On the other hand,
Sherman, Mathur, and Smith (1997) found that activation prolongs the duration of
In spite of the fact that the previous three studies did not consider or measure
motivational orientation, their operational definitions provide a relatively unambiguous
indication to subjects' motivational state. The former two projects observed customers in
supermarkets, while the third one customers in a mall-based fashion store. We may
make the plausible assumption that shopping for groceries is commonly conceived of as a
problem to be dealt with in the most efficient manner. In other words, people are likely to
undertake this activity in a problem-directed (instrumental) motivational state. In
contrast, consumers frequently stroll around fashion stores as a form of leisure on
weekends and holidays. Consequently, we may conclude that fashion stores are generally
patronized in an experiential state. In this light, the contradictory findings become readily
explicable: motivational orientation moderated the influence of activation on
pleasantness, which, in turn, affected shopping behavior (i.e., the duration of the visit and
The remaining two naturalistic projects Donovan and Rossiter (1982) and
Donovan, Rossiter, Marcoolyn, and Nesdale (1994) collected data at retailing venues
and at times which preclude unambiguous inferences as to the motivational orientation of
the customers. Donovan and Rossiter's (1982) subjects were instructed to visit eleven
different retail venues, which included a full-line department store and an apparel
boutique as well as a supermarket and a drugstore, on various days and at various times.
Donovan et al. (1994) administered their questionnaire to customers at discount
department stores. In both empirical designs, some respondents could have entertained an
experiential motivational orientation, while others could have held a problem-directed
Finally, Baker, Levy, and Grewal (1992) and Dube, Chebat, and Morin (1995)
collected their data in a laboratory setting which does not provide any indication to the
predominating motivational state of the subjects.
In conclusion, the inconsistent empirical evidence with respect to environmental
influences on shopping behavior indicates to a possible moderating role of motivational
orientation in the relationship between activation and pleasantness.
Shopping Behavior as a Function of Pleasantness and Activation
SHOPPING BEHAVIORS PLEASANTNESS
Pleasant Setting Unpleasant Setting
P Baker et al. (1992) P Baker et al. (1992)
Approaching Orientations P Donovan and Rossiter (1982) -------------------- -----------------------------------
P Hui and Bateson (1991) P Donovan and Rossiter (1982) 0 Donovan and Rossiter (1982)
0 Spies et al. (1997) _
N Milliman (1982)'
Purchasing Intentions/ Spending Pe et a ( ) Sherman et al. (1997) *
SSpiesetal.(1997)0 Smith and Cumrnow (1966)
P Donovan and Rossiter (1982) P Donovan and Rossiter (1982) 0 Donovan and Rossiter (1982)
Duration of the Visit 0 Sherman et al. (1997) ------------------------------- ----- -------- ------.------------------------------
P Spies et al. (1997) N Smith and Curnow (1966) *
P Sherman et al. (1997)'
P Donovan and Rossiter (1982) 1 0 Donovan and Rossiter (1982)
Affiliative Tendencies P Donovan and Rossiter (1982) ------------ ..-------------------------------...
P Dube et al. (1995)
P Dube et al. (1995)
TABLE 2-1 Continued
SHOPPING BEHAVIORS PLEASANTNESS
Pleasant Setting Unpleasant Setting
P Donovan and Rossiter (1982)
Unplanned Spending P Donovan et at. (1994) 0 Donovan and Rossiter (1982) I 0 Donovan and Rossiter (1982)
P Spies et al. (1997) 0 Donovan et al. (1994) N Donovan et al. (1994)
Unplanned Extension of the Visit P Donovan et al. (1994) 0 Donovan et al. (1994) 0 Donovan et al. (1994)
P Sherman et al. (1997)
Satisfaction/Attitude P Spies et al. (1997) 0 Sherman et al. (1997) *
P Yoo et al. (1998)
P z positive relationship
0 z no relationship
N => negative relationship
* => The effect of activation is not controlled for the level of pleasantness.
DEFINITION OF THE THEORETICAL CONSTRUCTS
The theoretical model (Figure 4-1) builds upon the "inverted-U" (e.g., Berlyne
1960, 1971) and the reversal (Apter 1982) models. The present model proposes that
motivational orientation telic (instrumental, extrinsic) or paratelic (experiential,
intrinsic) moderates the influence of activation on pleasantness: activation decreases
pleasantness in telic motivational states, but increases it in paratelic states. The
moderating influence of motivational orientation lies in the fact that consumers
experience intense activation as unpleasant tension when in telic states and as pleasant
excitement when in paratelic states; conversely, little activation is experienced as pleasant
relaxation in a telic state and as unpleasant boredom in a paratelic state (Apter 1982).
This chapter defines the theoretical constructs motivational orientation,
activation, and pleasantness which constitute the building blocks of the conceptual
Unless the subsequent exposition indicates otherwise, the following definition
rests on Apter's (1982) theoretical discussion.
Motivational orientation telic (instrumental, extrinsic) or paratelic (experiential,
intrinsic) defines the direction, or goal, of behavior (Apter 1982, pp. 40, 42; Deci 1975,
pp. 23-24). Table 3-1 describes the paratelic and telic motivational orientations with
respect to a number of discriminative characteristics.
Inceptive Status. The telic motivational orientation arises when the consumer
becomes aware of an outstanding need, a phenomenological state inferior to one's
subjective adaptational level, and strives after the satisfaction of this need (e.g., to
replenish the household stock of groceries).
On the basis of empirical data, Berlyne (1960, pp. 186-192) suggests that as soon
as individuals accumulate a disposable reserve of energy (i.e., a surplus of energy over
some indispensable amount that, for example, underlies and ensures physiological
maintenance), they strive to "get rid of' (to reduce) this reserve. The paratelic
motivational orientation arises when the consumer strives to reduce one's disposable
reserve, without recognizing an outstanding need the satisfaction of which might require
a part or the whole of this reserve.
Concomitant Affective Experiences. The recognition of an outstanding need
induces an anxious feeling which is experienced as aversive. Having successfully
satisfied the need, the individual feels pleasant relaxation. In contrast, in paratelic
motivational states, as a result of the individual's activation subsiding below the desirable
level, the individual experiences unpleasant boredom, and begins seeking excitement
which is felt as pleasant.
Discretionary Nature of the Activity. The motivational orientations differ with
respect to the discretionary nature of the undertaken activity. The objective of a telic state
lies in the satisfaction of an outstanding need: the individual undertakes some actions
with the particular purpose of satisfying the particular need. The purpose and nature of
the undertaken activity are determined by the nature of the need: e.g., the consumer will
go to a supermarket, if (s)he has a need of groceries, but will go to a department or
specialty store, if (s)he needs a sweater. In consequence, both the activity and its purpose
are experienced as unavoidable (imposed).
In contrast, the objective of a paratelic state is to expend disposable energy. The
individual has a host of various entertaining activities at one's disposal from which (s)he
chooses one pursuit to engage in. Unless the activity proves adequately exciting, the
individual may abandon it and take up another pursuit. As a result, the activity and its
goal are experienced as avoidable (voluntary).
Theoretical and empirical support for the contention that discretion differentiates
between the paratelic and telic motivational orientations has been furnished by
investigations on leisure pursuits. Ennis (1968, pp. 526-527, 529-531) concludes that the
freedom to undertake an activity constitutes the principal distinction between leisure and
work. Kelly (1972) and Neulinger (1981, pp. 30-31) contend that the perception of
freedom, rather than the individual's actual state, underlies this distinction. DeCharms
(1968, p. 328) and Deci and Ryan (1985, pp. 32 and 38) emphasize that the perception of
an internal locus of control underlies intrinsic motives. Kelly (1978, pp. 253-255) focused
on motivations for engaging in leisure activities, and obtained that motives implying
discretion were more frequently mentioned than motives implying obligation. Iso-Ahola
(1979) and Unger and Kernan (1983) likewise found that the perception of freedom
characterizes leisure pursuits.
Reversal of Means and Ends. The motivational orientations are distinguished by a
characteristic reversal of means and ends. In telic states, the individual undertakes actions
solely for the purpose of achieving the unavoidable and imposed goal. (S)he concentrates
on the goal and derives satisfaction from achieving it. The particular activity constitutes
the mere means toward the goal.
In contrast, in paratelic states, the individual engages in an activity to expend
disposable energy. (S)he focuses on the activity and derives satisfaction directly from
carrying it out. In other words, the activity constitutes the ultimate purpose, while any
ostensible goal serves merely to structure and justify it. In essence, the ostensible goal
becomes the means for pursuing the activity which constitutes the actual goal.
Apter contends that one can verify whether an activity is carried out as paratelic
or telic by the individual's willingness to terminate this activity and receive its outcome.
In support of the proposition for a reversal of means and ends, Deci (1975)
distinguishes between extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. The former motives instigate
an activity which brings about the achievement of a goal; this achievement, in turn,
produces a rewarding internal state. In contrast, intrinsic motives foster an activity which
engenders a rewarding experience in and of itself and, therefore, constitutes an end in
itself and is carried out for its own sake (pp. 23-24).
London, Crandall, and Fitzgibbons (1977) identified the derivation of intrinsic
satisfaction as an ubiquitous need which underlies all engagement in leisure pursuits.
People were observed to mention intrinsic satisfaction as a reason to undertake a leisure
pursuit 52% of the time, and to indicate intrinsic satisfaction as the most important reason
76% of the time (Kelly 1978). Iso-Ahola (1979) and Unger and Kernan (1983) obtained
empirical evidence in support of the discriminative capacity of intrinsic satisfaction as
Significance of the Goal. Another principal distinction between a paratelic and a
telic goal lies in their overall significance. The successful achievement of a telic goal
usually serves as a step towards the attainment of a broader telic goal. In this sense, a
telic goal derives its significance not only from the alleviation of a current pending need,
but also from facilitating the satisfaction of a more general need: a telic goal essentially
points beyond itself. As an illustration, the successful passing of an examination
promotes a student's final graduation, which, in turn, enhances his or her occupational
In contrast, the paratelic objective of exhausting one's disposable energy is
encapsulated within the boundaries of the present and bears no implications for the future
well-being of the person. Apter maintains that significant goals are preferred in telic
states, while insignificant goals are preferred in paratelic states. In fact, as soon as an
individual regards a paratelic goal as significant for the future, (s)he reverts from a
paratelic to a telic frame of mind.
Phenomenological Frame. Since indulging in exhilarating pursuits may become
dangerous or harmful (e.g., impulsive purchases may deplete one's financial means and
preclude the fulfillment of one's responsibilities to dependent others), paratelic activities
are carried out within a protective frame (i.e., a phenomenological context which the
individual considers as different from and separate from his or her ordinary contexts)
(Apter 1991). Bateson (1955) elucidates the security-inducing quality of protective
frames by explicating that the contexts which "accommodate" playful activities bear a
double meaning: on the one hand, circumstances and behaviors represent themselves; on
the other hand, circumstances and behaviors stand for other circumstances and behaviors,
but do not denote what these other ones do. The Fantasea Reef restaurant in Atlantic City
(Figure 3-1) provides a telling illustration of the construct. People may interpret the
surrounding context either in terms of the representational reality (e.g., under the sea), or
in terms of the actual reality (e.g., a decorated room). The ambience stands for the
experience of being under the sea, but does not entail all its implications (e.g., having to
accommodate tremendous pressure and complete darkness). In consequence, customers
may indulge in the enjoyable aspects of the situation, without suffering the unpalatable
ones. If the representational experience becomes distressful, customers may escape to the
comforting construal which the literal meaning affords.
In support of the phenomenological reality of protective frames, Hollender (1977)
observed that motives to escape from the ordinary routine explained 25% of the variance
in motivations for camping, and tended to be significantly more important for taking the
decision to camp than motives to repeat mundane activities. Kelly (1978) looked into the
percentage of leisure activities that are described as different from one's work, and found
this percentage to amount to 97 in one sample and to 88 in another sample. Hawes (1978)
identified escape from pressures and peace of mind as the most important benefits which
people report to derive from leisure pursuits. Unger and Kernan (1983) found that the
feeling of immersion in a different subjective world characterizes leisure pursuits.
The consistent differentiation between the paratelic and telic motivational
orientations brings up the question of whether this distinction applies to the marketing
domain. If people undertook consumptive or shopping activities in a telic frame of mind
only, the theoretical implications under discussion would not have any relevance to
marketing. The subsequent section provides empirical evidence for the natural occurrence
of both motivational propensities in the marketing field.
The Motivational Distinction in Marketing Contexts
As early as 1957, Alderson classified the various behaviors of consumers into two
categories instrumental and congenial on the basis of the outstanding goal The
congenial category encompasses those activities which the individual derives immediate
satisfaction from and which (s)he maintains for their own sake. In contrast, instrumental
behaviors comprise those activities that are regarded as necessary steps on the road to a
congenial pursuit (p. 168).
In the early 80s, Holbrook and Hirschman revitalized the interest in congenial
behavior. They focused the attention on the multisensory images that consumers may
imagine or recall, and on the emotional experiences that consumers may entertain with
respect to products. These cognitive and affective processes were designated as hedonic
consumption (Hirschman and Holbrook 1982) and were contrasted with informational
processing on a series of aspects: environmental antecedent factors, consumer-inherent
antecedent factors, mediating cognitive and affective processes, behavioral outcomes, and
evaluative criteria (Holbrook and Hirschman 1982).
Tauber (1972) collected comprehensive interviews from a convenience sample of
thirty individuals, and established that people did report to undertake shopping out of
paratelic motives, which he further divided into two classes: personal and social. The
class of personal motives comprises: (1) role playing (The consumer enacts a desirable
social role [e.g. that of a housewife] in the course of shopping.); (2) diversion (The
consumer undertakes shopping as a leisure activity.); (3) self-gratification (The consumer
alleviates unpleasant emotions by spending money on oneself); (4) learning about novel
trends (The consumer shops to keep oneself abreast of the latest innovations or styles.);
(5) physical activity (The consumer shops for exercise.); (6) sensory stimulation (The
consumer enjoys pleasant sensory experiences during shopping.).
The class of social motives includes: (7) social experiences outside the home
(Consumers seek to make new acquaintances in the course of shopping.); (8)
communication with others having a similar interest (In the course of shopping for
products or services which are related to a hobby, a consumer encounters people who
share his or her interests, and interacts with knowledgeable sales associates.); (9) peer
group attraction (Patronizing a retailing facility may enable a consumer to associate with
his or her membership or reference groups.); (10) authority and status (Being waited
upon by sales associates enhances the self-perceived authority and status of the
consumer.); (11) pleasure of bargaining (Some consumers enjoy bargaining. Under the
currently predominating fixed prices, consumers bargain by engaging in comparative
shopping or by finding out sales.)
Westbrook and Black (1985) elaborated on Tauber's typology: they combined
several motives into single classes and added two new classes: (1) role enactment
(Westbrook and Black's understanding of this motivation corresponds to Tauber's
definition.); (2) stimulation (This motivational category encompasses five of Tauber's
motives: from No. 2 through No. 7 of the preceding list.); (3) affiliation (This
motivational category comprises three of Tauber's motives: from No. 8 through No. 10 of
the preceding list.); (4) authority and power (This motivational class corresponds to
Tauber's motivation of authority and status and, in addition, includes the satisfaction
from gaining the upper hand in a bargain.); (5) negotiation (The individual strives after
economic, as compared to personal, advantages from bargaining.); (6) anticipated utility
(In the course of shopping, the individual may derive satisfaction from the anticipated
consumption of the product or service.); (7) choice optimization (The consumer derives
pleasure from the process of seeking for that product or service that best meets his or her
Westbrook and Black furnished empirical evidence in support of their typology,
and subsequently translated it into a more generalized classification comprising three
classes only: (1) shopping for the procurement of needed products or services; (2)
shopping for the satisfaction of needs which are unrelated to the particular products or
services, and (3) shopping out of both motives. However, this classification was not
subject to an empirical test.
A profiling of shoppers furnished additional support for the distinction between
paratelic and telic shopping motives (Bellenger and Korgaonkar 1980). Shopping
motivation was defined as satisfaction from shopping: those respondents who disclosed
relatively more satisfaction from shopping were classified as recreational shoppers,
while those who disclosed relatively less satisfaction as economic or convenience
shoppers. The two classes were observed to differ in a number of aspects. Firstly,
recreational shoppers were found to be more inclined to patronize closed malls or
department stores, to make more unplanned purchases, to spend more time per trip, and
to continue shopping after having made a purchase. Secondly, they were found to be
more likely to seek for and gather information. Thirdly, they tended to be female and to
come from white-collar households. Finally, they were inclined to prefer social
interaction and outdoor activities.
On the basis of this theoretical distinction, Babin, Darden, and Griffin (1994)
devised and validated a multi-item self-report scale to assess utilitarian and hedonic
The paratelic motivational orientation underlies consumptive activities as well.
Idiographic and ethnographic accounts provide descriptive evidence that individuals
pursue skydiving (Celsi, Rose, and Leigh 1993), undertake a white-water rafting trip
(Amrnould and Price 1993), participate in a historical enactment (Belk and Costa 1998),
ride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle (Schouten and McAlexander 1995), or trade at an
informal market (Sherry 1990a, b) out of paratelic motives.
This section defined the construct of motivational orientation and demonstrated its
relevance for marketing contexts. The subsequent sections address the remaining two
theoretical constructs: activation and pleasantness.
Three different theoretical approaches physiological, psychological, and
phenomenological have addressed the phenomenon of activation (arousal).
The physiological perspective defines activation as the expenditure (mobilization,
release) of the potential energy which is collected in the tissues (Duffy 1962, p. 17). This
theoretical approach focuses on the investigation and measurement of the sympathetic,
electrocortical, and somatic (behavioral) manifestations of activation. Initial
physiological models advocated a single energizing mechanism, the ascending reticular
activating system (e.g., Duffy 1962, pp. 34-49; Malmo 1959; Moruzzi and Magoun 1949;
Lindsley 1957). Subsequent models identified more complex neurophysiological patterns.
For example, Vanderwolf and Robinson (1981) established the presence of two different
energizing mechanisms one mechanism for the activation of voluntary, purposeful,
behaviors and another mechanism for the activation of automatic responses (e.g., a
startle). Berntson, Cacioppo and Quigley (1991) obtained empirical evidence which
disconfirms the Doctrine of Autonomic Reciprocity (i.e., the contention that the
sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system are subject
to reciprocal central control so that an increase in the activity of one branch is associated
with a decrease in the activity of the other) and establishes that the sympathetic and
parasympathetic branches can independently innervate effectors (e.g., the heart).
The psychological perspective defines activation as the common behavioral
effects of a number of different factors (e.g., incentives, anxiety, intense noise,
introversion/ extraversion, time of day, etc.) (Eysenck 1982, p. 3). This theoretical
approach manipulates activation (e.g., through the experimental induction of anxiety, or
the exposure of experimental subjects to different levels of noise, or the presentation of
different amounts of incentive) or measures activation (e.g., through the assessment of
dispositional extraversion/ introversion which has been found to correlate with arousal),
and observes its effects on various behaviors (e.g., performance on principal and
subsidiary tasks). The empirical investigations have yielded inconsistent evidence: e.g.,
anxiety does not influence performance on principal tasks and impairs performance on
subsidiary tasks, while incentives enhance performance on principal tasks and impair or
do not affect performance on subsidiary tasks (Eysenck 1982, p. 51). On the basis of the
empirical evidence, the psychological approach relinquishes the conception of activation
as a homogenous psychophysiological state, and advances a distinction between
involuntary and voluntary activation (Eysenck 1982; p. 182) or proposes the separate
investigation of the different psychobiological states (e.g., happiness, anxiety, anger)
The phenomenological perspective defines the construct of activation as the
subjective experience of the mobilization of one's energy (Russell and Feldman Barrett
1999, p. 809). This theoretical approach measures activation by means of self-report
semantic-differential scales which are described with affective adjectives: e.g., relaxed,
calm, sluggish, dull, sleepy, and unaroused vs. stimulated, excited, frenzied, jittery, wide-
tIl LAi'. and aroused (Mehrabian and Russell 1974, p. 216). Extensive empirical evidence
has furnished support for the validity of this phenomenological conception of activation
(Feldman Barrett and Russell 1998; Mehrabian and Russell 1974; Russell 1978, 1983;
Russell and Mehrabian 1977; Russell, Ward and Pratt in Russell and Pratt 1980, pp. 312-
313; Yik, Russell, and Feldman Barrett 1999).
For the purposes of the present paper, the construct of activation designates the
subjective experience of the expenditure of energy. The theoretical model adopts the
phenomenological definition because, as the subsequent section explains, the hedonic
quality (pleasantness) of an affective experience rests on the evaluation of a stimulus as
conducive or obstructive to the achievement of an outstanding goal. In other words, the
evaluation of activation is conditional on the individual's perceiving his or her
psychophysiological state first. Therefore, the model considers subjective, rather than
This phenomenological definition further rests on the fact that objective
physiological measures exhibit weak inter-correlations (Buck 1976; Lacey 1967).
Experimental evidence has demonstrated that self-report measures correlate with
composite indices of physiological indicators more strongly than these indicators
correlate among one another. Thayer (1967) obtained this effect with a composite index
of electrodermal activity and heart rate. Three years later, the same investigator reported
similar findings with an index of electrodermal activity, muscle-action potential, finger
blood volume, and heart rate (Thayer 1970). Thayer (1978) advanced the plausible
explanation that, while physiological systems may become activated in varying degrees at
a given time, individuals are capable of integrating the different pieces of internal
information and report one's current degree of activation with a satisfactory accuracy.
The conception of pleasantness as the hedonic quality of affective states has been
unanimously advanced by multiple scholars. Three streams of theoretical and empirical
study have established independent supportive evidence.
In the first place, exploratory investigations into facial affective expressions have
invariably yielded pleasantness as one underlying quality. An informative discussion of
this evidence is found in Russell (1980, pp. 1162-3).
Another stream of exploratory work, which investigates affective terminology,
has likewise observed an invariable underlying hedonic dimension (e.g. Mehrabian and
Russell 1974; Russell 1979, 1980, 1983; Russell, Lewicka, and Niit 1989; Russell and
Mehrabian 1977; Russell and Pratt 1980). Smith and Ellsworth (1985) undertook to
examine fifteen emotional experiences and obtained that pleasantness discriminates
among these states best.
Finally, theoretical models on emotional appraisals have demonstrated the
fundamental importance of an underlying hedonic dimension for the successful
discrimination among the multitude of affective states. For the purposes of the present
model, appraisal is defined in accordance with Smith and Lazarus (1990) as a mental
representation comprising an evaluative and a cognitive components. The evaluative
component, primary appraisal, answers the questions of whether and how a stimulus
affects one's personal goals. Should a stimulus be believed as inconsequential for one's
well-being, an affective experience does not ensue. In contrast, a stimulus may be
believed significant for an individual's adaptation. In these cases, a pleasant affective
response arises, if the stimulus is perceived as conducive to the achievement of one's
goals. Conversely, should a stimulus be regarded as obstructive to one's goals, an
unpleasant affective state results. In other words, the hedonic quality of affective states
reflects the adaptational implications of a stimulus.
The cognitive component, secondary appraisal, comprises a combination of
expectations, attributions, and beliefs that discriminate and underlie the particular
emotional experiences (e.g., sadness, anxiety, anger). This component does not possess
immediate relevance for the present theoretical model.
Both theoretical and empirical studies have established the subjective validity of
evaluative appraisals. Scherer (1982, p. 577) defines emotion in an identical manner, i.e.
as an evaluation of the implications of a stimulus for one's personal goals, plans, or
preferences. Roseman, Spindel, and Hose (1990) and Roseman (1991) observed that the
dimension of situational state, defined as whether a stimulus is regarded as consistent or
inconsistent with one's motives, discriminates pleasant from unpleasant emotional
experiences best. Smith and Lazarus (1993) and Smith, Haynes, Lazarus, and Pope
(1993) likewise obtained empirical evidence in support of the phenomenological reality
of protective frames.
The previous theoretical models on emotional appraisals have demonstrated that a
hedonic experience is induced as soon as a stimulus is evaluated as conducive or
obstructive to one's goals, which determines the natural prevalence of pleasantness and
its fundamental capacity for discriminating among the multitude of affective states.
The subsequent chapter derives and discusses the theoretical proposition.
Telic vs. Paratelic Motivations
Incentive Status perception of perception of no outstanding needs
Incentive Status an outstanding need available disposable energy
Affective Experiences relaxation/ tension boredom! excitement
Discretion no yes
Significance of Goal for the future for the present
Reversal of Means and Ends activity = the means activity = the ends
its goal = the ends its goal = the means
Frame ordinary interpretation extraordinary interpretation
Phenomenological of the context of the context
Figure 3-1. Extraordinary context.
We all remember and cherish that amusing vignette from Chapter 2 of Mark
Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer which relates how Tom persuades Ben Rogers to
take over the painting of Aunt Polly's board fence. Tom looks upon painting the fence as
a domestic chore, which he needs to complete in order to escape reprimands and
punishment. Conversely, Ben is wheedled into perceiving it as desirable and exciting
play. In the final analysis, while Ben is eagerly toiling under the sun, Tom is joyfully
relaxing in the shade of a nearby tree. This behavioral sketch, which Twain so
masterfully depicts, illustrates the inconsistent relationship between activation and
The present theoretical model addresses the problem of why the identical
behavior may produce either a pleasant or an unpleasant experience for an individual.
Telic motivational states begin with the consumer becoming aware of an outstanding
need (e.g., to replenish one's household stock of groceries). (S)he undertakes an
appropriate activity (e.g., shopping for groceries) for the satisfaction of the particular
need. The purpose and nature of the activity are determined by the nature of the need:
e.g., the consumer will go to a supermarket, if (s)he needs groceries, but will go to a
department or specialty store, if (s)he needs a sweater. This external determination of the
nature of the activity indicates that the energy which the individual invests into this
activity has a positive (i.e., greater than zero) opportunity cost: the consumer would
prefer to invest the energy into an activity of choice. On this basis, the theoretical model
suggests that consumers strive to satisfy their pending needs in an efficient manner (i.e.,
with a minimal expense of energy). Consequently, a low level of activation (i.e., the
investment of little energy) is perceived as conducive to the efficient satisfaction of the
pending need, and is accordingly experienced as pleasant. Conversely, a high level of
activation (i.e., the investment of much energy) is regarded as obstructive to the
achievement of this goal, and is accordingly experienced as unpleasant.
In contrast, the investment of energy constitutes the means for a reduction in
one's disposable energy. People normally have a variety of appealing pursuits at their
disposal, from which they may choose one to engage in (e.g., shopping for diversion).
Unless the occupation proves adequately involving or energetic, the individual may
abandon it and take up another one: the nature of the activity is at the person's discretion.
In addition, since the consumer undertakes an activity of choice, the energy which (s)he
invests into it may be conceived of as having an opportunity cost of zero. In consequence,
a high level of activation is considered as conducive to a reduction in disposable energy,
and is therefore experienced as appealing in paratelic motivational states. In contrast, a
low level of activation is regarded as obstructive to this goal, and is therefore experienced
The subsequent hypothetical example provides an illustration of the preceding
theoretical discussion. Let us imagine Margaret, our protagonist, as she is shopping for a
T-shirt on two different occasions. On one occasion, she is leaving for a trip on the
following day. She has been packing her luggage for some time, when she discovers that
she will need one additional T-shirt. She has a lot of other tasks to take care of, but goes
to a department store to purchase the item. On another occasion, she is having a day-off,
and is shopping for diversion.
Figure 4-1 represents the subjective state of Margaret on the two occasions: the
right-hand curve designates the pre-trip day, the left-hand curve the day-off. Let us
assume that she possesses identical amounts of indispensable and disposable energy on
both occasions. Point A2 indicates the amount of activation which utilizes Margaret's
entire disposable reserve. All points to the right of A2 stand for levels of activation which
consume increasing portions of her indispensable energy. In contrast, point A] identifies
the smallest quantity of activation which is required for the satisfaction of a need.
Let us consider Margaret's subjective experience at point A2 first. On the pre-trip
day she is investing all her disposable energy into the purchasing task. The shopping
activity is leaving her without a disposable reserve for eventual discretionary pursuits.
She is satisfying her need for a T-shirt at a relatively high cost, and, therefore, is
experiencing the shopping activity (i.e., the activation) as unpleasant. In contrast, on her
day-off, she has found a discretionary occupation which is providing her with an
opportunity to "get rid of' her entire disposable energy. Since she is deriving gratification
from the reduction in disposable energy itself, she is experiencing the shopping activity
What transpires between A1 and A2? At any successive point to the left of A2,
Margaret is feeling increasing pleasantness on the pre-trip day, because she is expending
a diminishing cost, and preserving an expanding portion of her disposable reserve for
eventual discretionary pursuits. In contrast, she is experiencing decreasing pleasantness
on the day-off.
The degrees of activation to the right of A2 consume growing portions of
Margaret's indispensable energy. On the pre-trip day, she is experiencing every
successive increment in activation as increasingly aversive, as the satisfaction of her need
is requiring mounting costs. But why is she not feeling rising pleasantness on her day-
off? As soon as the discretionary occupation encroaches upon her indispensable energy
(e.g., she begins to feel her feet aching), she recognizes the need for recuperative rest. In
other words, she relinquishes the paratelic motivational orientation and adopts the telic
one. In consequence, from this point on, her subjective state is represented with the left-
hand curve: all investments of energy are experienced as unappealing.
What happens at the point Ai? On the day-off, Margaret has discovered a meager
opportunity for the application of her disposable energy, and is consequently deriving
little gratification from the shopping activity. In contrast, on the pre-trip day, she has
found an "economical" means for the satisfaction of her need, and, as a result, is
experiencing a pleasant feeling. Upon a satisfactory achievement of all telic goals (i.e.,
having packed all her luggage), she may not recognize other pending needs. In this case,
she will assume a paratelic motivational orientation, and experience the inactivity (i.e.,
the low level of activation) as unpleasant.
Extensive investigations into the underlying properties of subjective experiences
have identified a pair of orthogonal dimensions which agree with the present theoretical
model. The first dimension is designated as unpleasant activation vs. pleasant
deactivation (Larsen and Diener 1992) or as tension vs. calmness (Thayer 1989, 1996),
and is described with the affective adjectives stressed, nervous vs. serene, relaxed
(Feldman Barrett and Russell 1998) or distressed, fearful, hostile, jittery, nervous,
scornful vs. at rest, calm, placid, relaxed (Watson and Tellegen 1985). Larsen and Diener
(1992) denote the second axis as pleasant activation vs. unpleasant deactivation, while
Thayer (1989, 1996) names it energy vs. fatigue; the affective adjectives excited, elated
vs. bored, depressed (Feldman Barrett and Russell 1998) or active, elated, enthusiastic,
excited, peppy, strong vs. drowsy, dull, sleepy, sluggish (Watson and Tellegen 1985)
represent the endpoints of this axis. This dimensional structure unambiguously agrees
with the conceptual model: the first axis reflects the relationship between activation and
pleasantness in telic motivational states, the second axis inparatelic states.
The preceding discussion finds a formal expression in the subsequent prediction:
Proposition: Motivational orientation moderates the influence of activation on
pleasantness: activation (a) decreases pleasantness in telic states and
(b) increases pleasantness in paratelic states.
p i Relaxation Excitement
A A, Activation
Figure 4-1. Theoretical framework.
EMPIRICAL SECTION: OVERVIEW
The subsequent five chapters describe four empirical studies, which test the
theoretical proposition. This sequence of studies includes two different experimental
manipulations of motivational orientation and seven different inductions of activation. In
all four studies, the manipulations and measures were administered in a shopping context.
The present chapter describes those experimental procedures, manipulations, and
measures which are common to all studies. The following four chapters describe and
discuss the individual studies.
Procedure. The empirical operations followed an identical sequence in all studies.
First subjects were instructed to adopt either a telic or a paratelic motivational orientation.
Then they were exposed to a deactivating or an activating stimulus. Finally, the subjects
indicated the hedonic quality (pleasantness) of their subjective experience with the
stimulus. The questionnaires concluded with an assessment of the effectiveness of the
Manipulations of Motivational Orientation. One motivational manipulation
constitutes a mental simulation. Subjects were instructed to read a hypothetical scenario
which described a fictional occasion when the protagonist undertakes shopping either for
the procurement of a needed product (i.e., out of a telic motive), or for diversion (i.e., out
of a paratelic motive). An approximate half of the samples were randomly assigned to the
telic simulation, while the other part to the paratelic simulation. Table 5-1 contains the
complete texts of these hypothetical stories. Having familiarized themselves with the
scenario, subjects described, in five or more sentences, a personal experience along
similar lines. This exercise was included into the empirical operations to facilitate the
adoption of the respective motivational orientation.
The other motivational manipulation constitutes a computer simulation of a
shopping ambience where subjects examined merchandise interactively: the telic
treatment required the completion of a shopping task, while the paratelic treatment
encouraged browsing for diversion.
Manipulations of Activation. The induction of a low or a high level of activation
was accomplished by exposing subjects to a deactivating or an activating shopping
context. The manipulation of the activating quality of the experimental stimulus was
informed by the extensive empirical evidence that particular properties of color and
music as well as environmental complexity influence activation. Complexity is defined as
the number of the non-redundant components of a configuration (Berlyne 1971, p. 149).
This structural quality has consistently been found to intensify activation (Berlyne 1960,
p. 178; Mehrabian and Russell 1974, p. 84). The warmth of a color has likewise been
obtained to affect activation positively: warm colors induce more activation, while cool
colors induce less activation. (Ali 1972; Jacobs and Hustmyer 1974; James and
Domingos 1953; Nourse and Welch 1971; Wilson 1966). The continuum of coolness/
warmth has been identified as: green, blue, violet, yellow, orange, and red; green being
the coolest color, and red the warmest (Mehrabian and Russell 1974, p. 60). Finally,
saturation (i.e., the subjective experience of the spectral purity of a wavelength) (Hogg
1969) and musical tempo (Holbrook and Anand 1990; Holbrook and Gardner 1993;
Kellaris and Kent 1991. 1993) have been consistently found to elevate activation.
Measures. All four empirical studies utilized identical measures for the
assessment of the experimental manipulations and the dependent variable, pleasantness.
The effectiveness of the motivational manipulations was measured by having subjects
complete the sentence, "On the present shopping occasion, I want ...." with eight seven-
point (1 to 7) Likert-type items. Four of the items to be purposefuid, to get things done,
to be task-focused, and to be efficient- indicated a telic motivational orientation, while
the other four to feel leisurely, to feel amused, to feel carefree, and to feel entertained-
denoted a paratelic orientation.
Mehrabian and Russell's scale (1974) has been widely used for the assessment of
activation. Several anchors of this scale, however, suggest a particular motivational
orientation: annoyed, jittery, melancholic, relaxed, and calm indicate a telic state, while
excited and bored imply a paratelic state (Apter 1982). Therefore, four seven-point, from
-3 to +3, semantic-differential items (lifeless/ lively, inert/ energetic, dull/ vigorous, and
inactive/ active) which do not exhibit a motivational connotation were designed for the
purposes of the present project. Subjects were instructed to complete, with respect to each
item, the sentence: "The atmosphere of this store feels...," in the first study; "The
ambience of the store feels...," in the second study; "The ambience felt...," in the third
study; and "The musical selection makes me feel...," in the fourth study.
The measurement of the dependent variable, pleasantness, comprised .four seven-
point, from -3 to +3, semantic-differential scales: displeased/ pleased, dissatisfied/
satisfied, unpleasant! pleaani. and unhappy! happy. With respect to each item, subjects
completed the sentence: "Shopping in this store on the present occasion would make me
feel...," in the first and fourth studies; "Shopping in this store on this particular occasion
makes me feel .... in the second study; and "The ambience made me feel...," in the third
Appendix A contains the complete multi-item measures of the three constructs.
Common-factor analyses yielded uni-dimensional solutions for all three scales in all four
studies. The composite scales were obtained by averaging their constituent items. A
reverse coding of the telic items resulted in a composite motivational measure, so that a
higher score on this composite scale indicates a stronger paratelic orientation. Table 5-2
exhibits the means, standard deviations, and Cronbach's alphas of the measuring scales
In Study 1 the constructs of activation and pleasantness were assessed for every
shopping context in an within-subjects design. The requirement for independence of the
observations entailed that common-factor analyses be carried out by shopping context for
this study. In consequence, six independent factor analyses were carried out on the scale
of activation, and six on the scale of pleasantness. Table 5-2 presents the ranges of the
means, standard deviations, and Cronbach's alphas for the two multi-item measures.
Motivational Manipulation: Scenarios
Telic Motivational Orientation: Scenario
It is Thursday afternoon and you are leaving for a three-day trip on the next day.
You have already started packing and you find out that you need one more T-shirt. There
are so many things you have to take care of personally that you do not have much time,
but you know that you will not be able to do without the additional T-shirt. So you think
of a store where you can obtain what you need.
You drive to the mall and enter the Store. You pass by a couple of sections and
head straight for where the T-shirts are. You start looking through the available stock and
examine a T-shirt.
Paratelic Motivational Orientation: Scenario
It is shortly after noon on a Saturday and none of your friends are around, but you
do not feel like staying at home the whole day. It is raining, so you do not want to do
anything outdoors either.
So you decide to go to a store to spend a couple of enjoyable hours and have a
nice time. You drive to the mall and visit various shops.
You enter a Store and slowly start browsing through the sections. You find some
T-shirts and begin considering one of them.
Means, Standard Deviations, and Cronbach's Alphas of the Measuring Scales
STUDY 1 STUDY 2 STUDY 3 STUDY 4
I. Motivational orientation
Mean 4.11 3.65 3.97 3.98
Standard deviation 2.08 1.81 1.22 1.87
Cronbach's alpha .966 .947 .824 .949
Mean 2.17-6.66 3.58 3.64 3.98
Standard deviation 0.51-1.41 1.36 1.41 1.79
Cronbach's alpha .784-.932 .883 .927 .953
Mean 3.58-5.57 4.49 4.64 4.16
Standard deviation 1.47-2.00 1.30 1.23 1.66
Cronbach's alpha .947 .980 .904 .960 .931
IV. Attitude t/d arrangement
Mean 4.94 4.78
Standard deviation 1.52 1.44
V. Individual differences
Mean 5.61 5.72
Standard deviation 1.04 0.89
Cronbach's alpha .928 .886
The first empirical test was carried out in a correlational design: subjects indicated
the hedonic quality (pleasantness) of their subjective experience with three unactivating
and three activating naturalistic shopping contexts. The retailing ambiences were
selected in a manner so as to vary in terms of their activating quality. While the
manipulation of motivational orientation was administered in a between-subjects design,
the manipulation of activation was administered within subjects in two different random
orders. In summary, the empirical study followed a two (motivational orientation: telic
vs. paratelic) by two (the presentational sequence of the shopping contexts) between-
groups correlational design, where every individual subject was exposed to two levels of
activation and three replications of each level.
Subjects. Thirty-one undergraduate students from a large South-Eastern university
were invited for a voluntary participation in exchange for one extra-credit point towards
introductory marketing classes.
Procedure. First, participating subjects were instructed to adopt either a telic or a
paratelic motivational orientation. Then they were exposed to six shopping contexts, and
solicited to indicate their subjective pleasantness with every context. The questionnaire
concluded with the measures of the independent variables.
Manipulation of Motivational Orientation. The first motivational manipulation -
the mental simulation was administered in this study.
Manipulation of Activation. Three comparatively complex ambiences of relatively
saturated and warm colors were selected for the activating treatment; conversely, three
comparatively simple contexts in relatively unsaturated and cool colors were chosen for
the deactivating treatment (Figure 6-1). Ambiences (a), (b), and (c) constituted the
activating stimuli, the remaining three ambiences the unactivating stimuli. Contexts (a)
and (d) comprised the first replicate, contexts (b) and (e) the second replicate, and,
finally, contexts (c) and (f) the third one.
Every shopping context was exhibited for thirty seconds on a large screen. Every
subject was exposed to all six retailing ambiences, whereby the factor of activation was
manipulated in an within-subjects design. The shopping contexts were exhibited in two
random orders: an approximate half of the sample were exposed to one order, the other
part to an alternative order. Since the retailing ambiences were presented on a large
screen before all the subjects of a particular session, the presentational sequences were
replicated in multiple sessions, so that their effects might be distinguishable from the
effects of the testing periods.
Manipulation Checks. The subjects from the paratelic condition indicated a
stronger inclination for diversion than the subjects from the telic condition (F=81.56,
p<.01, dferror=29; 5.81 vs. 2.30).
A repeated-measures analysis of variance verified the effectiveness of the
manipulation of activation. The strong main effect of this factor (F=269.98, p<.01,
dferror=29; 6.35 vs. 3.17) was qualified by a significant interaction with the replicates
(F=16.46, p<.01, dferror=28). The third replicate generated the largest difference
(F=233.28, p<.01, dferror=29; 6.45 vs. 2.18), the first replicate produced a smaller
difference (F=164.60, p<.01, dfeor-=29; 6.66 vs. 3.59), and, finally, the second one
yielded the smallest effect (F=50.01, p<.01, dfenor=29; 5.93 vs. 3.74). For all three
replicates, however, the comparatively complex ambiences of relatively saturated and
warm colors were reported to be more activating than the comparatively simple contexts
in relatively unsaturated and cool colors. The presentational sequences did not qualify
either the manipulation of activation (F=.89, p>.10, dferror=29) or the interaction of
activation with the replicates (F=.93, p>. 10, dferr==28).
Results. A repeated-measures analysis of variance yielded the anticipated
moderating influence of motivational orientation on the relationship between activation
and pleasantness (F=21.78, p<.01, dferror=27) (Figure 6-2). Neither the presentational
sequences (F=.ll, p>.10,. dferror=27), nor the replicates (F=.14, p>.10, dferror==26),
interacted with this moderating effect. While the paratelic subjects experienced the high
level of activation as more pleasurable (F=35.33, p<.01, dferro=14; 5.92 vs. 4.15), the
telic subjects experienced the low level as more pleasant (F=4.79, p<.05, dfero= 13; 5.41
Discussion. The first empirical study furnished evidence that activation relates
positively to pleasantness in paratelic motivational states, but relates negatively to
pleasantness in telic states. The empirical design, however, does not allow for a causal
conclusion: the treatments of activation utilized naturalistic shopping contexts, which
might systematically differ among one another on properties other than activation. In
other words, the operational definition of activation precluded a definitive conclusion
with respect to its causal influence. This empirical limitation necessitated that the
theoretical proposition be tested with an experimental design, where the respective
stimuli differ with respect to their activating properties only.
(a) (b) (c)
(d) (e) (f)
Figure 6-1. Study One: Experimental stimuli.
a) The Limited, Columbus, Ohio; b) Discovery Channel Destination, Washington,
D.C.; c) The Disney Store, Orlando, Florida; d) Birkenstock Flagship Store, San
Francisco, California; e) N. Peal, New York City; f) Takashimaya, New York
Figure 6-2. Study One: Results.
The manipulation of activation utilized experimental stimuli, which were identical
in all respects with the exception of their activating quality. The experimental
manipulations of both motivational orientation and activation had two levels, thereby
resulting in a two (motivational orientation: telic vs. paratelic) by two (activation: low vs.
high) between-subjects design.
Subjects. Fifty-three undergraduate students from a large South-Eastern university
were invited for a voluntary participation in exchange for the same compensation as in
the previous study.
Procedure. The experimental procedure, the motivational manipulation, and the
empirical measures were identical to the ones in the previous study with the exception
that every subject was exposed to a single treatment of activation.
Manipulation of Activation. The induction of a high or a low level of activation
was accomplished by means of a systematic variation in the saturation and the warmth of
color. The activating experimental stimulus (i.e., shopping context) was carried out in
comparatively saturated and warm (red, orange, and yellow) shades, while the
unactivating stimulus in relatively unsaturated and cool (green and blue) hues. The
shopping contexts were identical with respect to all other environmental components. In
addition, the merchandise was exhibited in achromatic white, gray, and black shades
in the same manner for both levels. Figure 7-1 presents the experimental stimuli.
The subjects were exposed to the shopping contexts on individual screens for ten
seconds. Then the ambience disappeared from the screen, and the subject was invited to
complete the scales.
Covariates. The questionnaire included two potential covariates (1) attitude
toward the arrangement of the context and (2) individual differences with respect to the
pleasantness of activation so that their effects might be partialed out in the subsequent
statistical analysis. The first covariate, the attitude toward the arrangement of the context,
was measured by having subjects report the degree to which they agree with the
statement, I like the arrangement of the ambience," on a seven-point (1 to 7) Likert-type
scale. Mehrabian and Russell's (1974) Arousal Seeking Tendency Scale measured
Manipulation Checks. The paratelic subjects indicated having a greater desire for
diversion in the course of the hypothetical shopping episode than the telic subjects
(F= 158.68, p<.01, dferror=49; 5.33 vs. 2.20).
The manipulation of activation, however, did not result in a significant difference
on the measure of activation (F=.02, p>.10, dferor=49; 3.59 vs. 3.64). The subsequent
discussion considers possible reasons for and implications of this finding.
Results. First the statistical assumptions for an analysis of covariance were tested.
The experimental treatments did not influence the attitude toward the arrangement of the
context (F=<2.14, p>.10, dferror=49) or individual differences (F=<2.88, p>.05. dferror=49),
or interact with these potential covarying variables in their effect on the dependent
variable (attitude: F=<2.12, p>.10, dferror=45; individual differences: F=
dferror=45). Consequently, both covariates were included into the statistical analysis.
A two-factor analysis of covariance yielded the moderating effect of motivational
orientation (F=4.42, p<.05, dferror=47) (Figure 7-2). The simple effect of activation
achieved statistical significance for the telic motivational orientation: the telic subjects
experienced the low level of activation as more pleasant than the high level (F=5.39,
p<.05, dfetor=24; 5.00 vs. 3.97). Despite the fact that the corresponding paratelic
conditions yielded means of the anticipated relative magnitudes 4.70 vs. 4.44 their
difference did not attain significance (F=.36, p>.10, dferror=21). The attitude toward the
arrangement of the context had a positive relationship with pleasantness (F=17.14, p<.01,
dtfrror=47), while arousal-seeking tendency a negative relationship (F=7.59. p<.01,
Discussion. This experimental study furnished support for the theoretical
proposition. The low level of activation was experienced as more pleasant than the high
level under the telic motivational orientation: those subjects who were instructed to
imagine shopping for a telic reason felt greater pleasantness with the deactivating
stimulus than with the activating one. Conversely, those subjects who were invited to
adopt a paratelic orientation exhibited the opposite tendency.
The non-significant manipulation check of activation does not conclusively
indicate that the experimental manipulation did not produce an effect. Psychophysical
studies which varied experimental stimuli of similar intensity and duration but had more
sensitive measures galvanic skin response (Jacobs and Hustmyer 1974; Wilson 1966),
finger tremor (James and Domingos 1953), or an interval self-report scale with an
unambiguous reference point (Hoggl969) have consistently demonstrated the
activating effect of saturation and warmth.
This empirical study does not address two potential confounding variables. In the
first place, the significant effect might have been produced by the particular pair of color
schemes: in other words, these particular combinations of colors, rather than the
difference in activation, might have interacted with motivational orientation. In the
second place, the empirical design did not control for a possible interaction between the
manipulation of activation and the particular shopping context which was utilized as an
experimental stimulus: the findings might hold true for this particular retailing ambience
only. In addition, the simulational nature of the motivational manipulation raises a
question about the validity of the findings: subjects' conceptions of their subjective
experience in a shopping context on a hypothetical shopping occasion might not
accurately represent their experience in the identical situation in real life.
The subsequent experimental design addresses these issues.
Figure 7-1. Study Two: Experimental stimuli.
a) Deactivating shopping context; b) Activating shopping context.
6".5 -- ---
6* a ~ ~ -- -
Telic Paratelic ELow
Motivational Orientation N High
Figure 7-2. Study Two: Results.
The third empirical study replicated the second one with a different motivational
manipulation and a different pair of color schemes. In addition, the experimental design
included two different shopping contexts, so that the generalizability of the findings
might be extended. In other words, the third study was carried out in a two (motivational
orientation: telic vs. paratelic) by two (activation: low vs. high) by two (shopping
context) between-subjects design.
Subjects. The recruitment of ninety-five individuals was carried out from the
identical population and in the same manner as for the previous studies.
Procedure. Subjects were exposed to a shopping context on individual computer
screens On-screen instructions informed them that they would be able to examine two
different articles of the merchandise apparel in greater detail. These articles could
be identified by scanning the merchandise with the mouse: the pointer converted from
an arrow into a hand whenever it passed over an item about which additional
information was available. A click on the article opened a separate window which
furnished a description and a picture of the item. Subjects could return to the shopping
context by pressing a button in this informational window.
Manipulation of Motivational Orientation. The telic treatment required that
subjects identify the names and prices of the two actionable articles in twenty seconds.
Subjects were advised that those who did not accomplish the task on their first attempt
would have to return to it after completing the questionnaire. The paratelic treatment
instructed subjects to browse through the store for twenty seconds, as when one did not
have anything else to do and browsed through stores for diversion.
Both motivational conditions were allowed to examine the shopping context for
an equal amount of time (i.e., twenty seconds). Then the retailing ambience and the
informational windows disappeared automatically from the screen. The on-screen
instructions invited subjects to complete their questionnaire. The telic instructions
additionally reminded them that those who had not accomplished the task were to return
to it at the end. After completing the questionnaire, the telic subjects were advanced to
another screen which featured a multiple-choice question about the prices of the two
actionable products. Those subjects who could not indicate the correct answer were
automatically returned to the beginning of the task for a second attempt. The program
allowed four attempts in total.
Manipulation of Activation. Subjects were exposed to an activating or a
deactivating shopping context. Along the lines of the previous study, the activating
context was accomplished in comparatively saturated and warm colors, while the
deactivating context in relatively unsaturated and cool colors. The backgrounds of the
informational windows were carried out in saturated red for the activating treatment and
in unsaturated greenish-blue for the deactivating treatment. This manipulation was
replicated in two different shopping contexts.
The deactivating and activating versions of the experimental stimulus did not
differ in any other respects. The merchandise was executed in identical colors for both
versions. In the informational windows, the descriptions of the actionable products were
exhibited in a rectangular space of a uniform gray color, so that the text might have equal
readability in the different versions. Please refer to Figure 8-1 for a reproduction of the
Measures. In addition to the independent variables, motivational orientation and
activation, and the dependent variable, pleasantness, the questionnaire included the same
two covariates the attitude toward the arrangement of the context and individual
differences with respect to the pleasantness of activation as the previous study.
The measuring scales of motivational orientation, activation, and the attitude
towards the arrangement were presented on a computer screen. Instead of indicating a
number, subjects could slide a needle along the entire range of the scale and arrest this
needle at any point. With the exception of the motivational measure, the measuring scales
were identical to the scales in the previous studies with the exception that they ranged
from -30 to +30. Before the statistical analyses, subjects' scores were divided by ten. The
motivational measure differed in that, instead of completing the sentence, "On the present
shopping occasion. I want ...," subjects were exposed to the sentence, "While examining
the store, I wanted ....
Manipulation Checks. The motivational measure yielded two factors, the four
telic items constituting one factor and the four paratelic items another factor. Since the
manipulation check yielded similar results for these factors (telic scale: F=30.47, p<.01,
dferror=86, 4.67 vs. 3.14; paratelic scale: F-4.18, p<.05, dfeor=86, 4.44 vs. 3.77), all eight
items were combined into a single scale.
The paratelic treatment resulted in a significantly greater mean on the
motivational measure than the telic treatment (F=23.84, p<.01, dferror=86; 4.55 vs. 3.45).
Subjects experienced the experimental stimulus which was accomplished in saturated
warm shades as more activating than the stimulus which was executed in unsaturated
cool hues (F=1.44, p=.23, dferror=87; 3.82 vs. 3.47), but the difference between the
treatment means did not attain the conventional level of statistical significance. The
different shopping contexts did not interact with this effect (F=0.64, p>.40, dferror=87).
Results. The experimental treatments did not influence the attitude toward the
arrangement of the context (F=<2.29, p>. 10, dferror=87), or interact with this covariate in
its effect on pleasantness (F=<2.33, p>.10, dferror=79). A significant interaction between
arousal-seeking tendency, motivational orientation, and the different shopping contexts
(F=8.26, p<.01, dferror=79) precluded the inclusion of individual differences as a covariate
into the statistical analysis.
Motivational orientation demonstrated a moderating role in the influence of
activation on pleasantness (F=4.04, p<.05, dfefor=86) (Figure 8-2). The simple effect of
activation approached statistical significance for the telic motivational orientation
(F=3.34, p=.07, dferror=41): the telic subjects experienced the low level of activation as
more pleasant than the high level (4.68 vs. 4.13). Despite the means being in the
anticipated direction, the simple effect did not attain significance for the paratelic
orientation (F=0.24, p>. 10, dferror=48; 4.89 vs. 4.78).
The attitude toward the arrangement of the context exhibited a positive
relationship with pleasantness (F=92.14, p<.01, dferror=86).
Discussion. The third study furnished convergent support for the theoretical
prediction. The employment of another pair of color schemes strengthened the argument
that the findings are produced by the underlying factor of activation rather than by the
particular color schemes. In addition, the replication of the effect in different shopping
contexts supplied evidence for its general nature. Finally, the motivational manipulation
placed subjects in a real-life situation, which enhances the validity of the results.
The experimental manipulation of activation yielded a larger difference on the
manipulation-check measure in comparison to the previous study. However, this
difference again did not attain the conventional level of statistical significance. The
insufficient sensitivity of the measuring instrument might plausibly account for this
Both experimental studies varied a single psychophysical variable: color. This
empirical limitation does not preclude the possibility that the effect might result from
differences with respect to this particular variable only. The following study answers this
Figure 8-1. Study Three: Experimental stimuli.
al) Deactivating shopping context: Replicate 1; a2) Activating shopping context:
Replicate 1; bl) Deactivating shopping context: Replicate 2; b2) Activating
shopping context: Replicate 2.
3.00 --- -
Telic Paratelic MLow
Motivational Orientation MHigh
Figure 8-2. Study Three: Results.
An alternative operational definition of activation, musical tempo, was developed
to provide another test for the theoretical proposition. Subjects were instructed to adopt a
telic or a paratelic motivational orientation, and to indicate their subjective pleasantness
with an activating or a deactivating experimental stimulus in a two (motivational
orientation: telic vs. paratelic) by two (activation: low vs. high) by two (musical
Subjects. One-hundred and thirty-one undergraduate students were invited for a
voluntary participation from the identical population and in the same manner as for the
Procedure and Motivational Manipulation. Subjects were instructed to assume a
telic or a paratelic motivational state by means of the same simulational manipulation,
which was administered in the first two studies, and to imagine themselves in a shopping
context where a musical piece was playing in the background. Then they were exposed to
a musical selection, and invited to indicate their subjective pleasantness in this
Manipulation of Activation. Subjects were exposed to a fast or a slow musical
selection. Table 9-1 presents the composer, title, and CD label of the four musical pieces.
Selections 1 and 2 are considered to have a fast tempo; selections 3 and 4 a slow tempo.
The musical presentation continued for one minute and fifty seconds. This
duration was believed sufficient for the successful induction of a particular level of
activation, and was constrained by the duration of the shortest piece. Since an entire
session was exposed to the same musical selection, every piece was replicated in two
sessions at least, so that the effect of activation might be separable from that of the testing
Measures. The assessment of motivational orientation, activation, and
pleasantness was carried out with the same multi-item self-report scales which were
administered in the first two studies. This fourth study did not measure any potential
Manipulation Checks. The paratelic treatment resulted in a higher mean on the
motivational scale than the telic treatment (F=455.25, p<.01, dferror=123; 5.61 vs. 2.31).
The faster musical selections were experienced as more activating than the slower ones
(F=139.60, p<.01, dferror=123; 5.30 vs. 2.74), and the different musical pieces did not
interact with this effect (F=3.46, p>.05, dferror=123).
Results. Motivational orientation moderated the influence of activation on
pleasantness (F=3.06, p=.08, dferror=123) (Figure 9-1). The low level of activation was
experienced as more pleasant than the high level in the telic motivational state (F=5.41,
p=.02, dferror=6l; 4.49 vs. 3.55). Despite the fact that the means of the corresponding
paratelic conditions exhibited the predicted directional relation, the difference between
these means did not achieve statistical significance (F=.04, p>.10, dferror=62; 4.31 vs.
4.23). The independent variables did not interact with the different musical selections
(F=<.45, p>.10, dferror= 123).
Discussion. This empirical study manipulated another psychophysical variable -
musical tempo to induce activation, and yielded convergent evidence for the
moderating effect of motivational orientation.
Study Four: Experimental Stimuli
COMPOSER TITLE LABEL
1. Johann Strauss, Father Radetzky-Marsch Madacy Music Group
2. Camille Saint-Saens The Carnival of the Animals: The Swan The Deca Record Company
3. Camille Saint-Saens The Carnival of the Animals: Finale The Deca Record Company
4. Claude Debussy Reverie Philips Classics Productions
6 --- ----------------
- 3. 53..
Telic Paratelic MLow
Motivational Orientation EHigh
Figure 9-1. Study Four: Results.
The empirical series of four studies has furnished consistent support for the
theoretical proposition that motivational orientation moderates the influence of activation
on pleasantness: a high level of activation is experienced as more pleasurable in paratelic
states, but as less pleasurable in telic states; conversely, a low level is felt as more
pleasant in telic states, but as less pleasant in paratelic states. Seven different
experimental manipulations of activation three pairs of naturalistic shopping contexts,
two pairs of color schemes, and two pairs of musical selections yielded the interaction
effect. This variety of operational definitions enhances the conclusion that activation,
rather than a particular environmental element, accounts for the results. The two different
experimental manipulations of motivational orientation lend additional support for the
internal validity of the results.
Several limitations of the empirical operations undermine the formulation of
conclusive inferences. The measure of activation assesses a subject's perception of that
portion of his or her activation which the shopping context induces rather than the
perception of his or her overall activation. This measure assumes that the random
assignment to treatments has resulted in an equal initial activation across conditions.
However, the motivational manipulations might have affected activation.
In three empirical studies, the motivational manipulation was administered as a
mental simulation: subjects were instructed to imagine that they were shopping for a
particular reason and in a particular context, and to indicate how pleasant this
hypothetical experience made them feel. Since people's conceptions of what their
subjective experience would be might differ from their real-life response, this empirical
approach raises a question about the validity of the results. On the other hand, the
convergent evidence of Study 3, which placed subjects in an actual paratelic or telic
situation, suggests that this limitation may not constitute a serious problem.
In three studies, the entire sessions received the identical level of a variable: the
presentational sequence of the shopping contexts in the first study, motivational
orientation in the third study, and activation in the fourth study. In consequence, the
experimenter was knowledgeable of the treatment that the subjects of a session would be
exposed to and might have inadvertently influenced their responses with subtle
The empirical manipulations and measures were administered in a shopping
context in all four studies, which raises a question about the generalizability of the
findings. The theoretical proposition merits empirical tests for other retailing settings
(e.g., banks), packages and labels, advertising messages, etc.
The theoretical model contributes to the conceptual and empirical inquiry into the
relationship between activation and pleasantness. While initial investigations identified
an "inverted-U"-shaped association (e.g, Berlyne 1960, 1971), subsequent studies found
that individual differences with respect to the optimal stimulation level moderate this
relationship (e.g.. Eysenck 1967).
The present model identifies and examines another moderating factor -
motivational orientation which enhances our theoretical comprehension of consumers'
subjective experiences with marketing stimuli (e.g.. packages and labels, advertising
messages, shopping ambiences). Unlike the moderating role of the individual differences
with respect to optimal-stimulation level, which does not allow for the effective
management of consumers' pleasantness in all marketing contexts at the current
technological level, business and non-profit organizations can infer or qaff.ct the
motivational orientation of their current and potential customers with satisfactory
precision. The product (e.g., groceries vs. books) or service (dry cleaning vs. tour-
guiding) category, the day of the week (a weekday morning vs. a Saturday afternoon), the
time of the year (a non-holiday vs. a holiday season), or the location of the enterprise
(e.g., a business district vs. an amusement park) provide an accurate indication to the
predominant motivational orientation of consumers. Marketing management can deduce
the prevailing motivational propensity from one or more of these factors, and execute the
activating quality of marketing stimuli (e.g., packages, advertising messages, or shopping
ambiences) in an appropriate manner.
In addition, as the subsequent subsection advances, motivational orientation is
also amenable to managerial influence.
Avenues for Future Investigation:
Induction of the Paratelic Motivational Orientation
Could consumers be induced to adopt a particular motivational state? Since the
paratelic orientation arises with the subjective absence of outstanding needs, the
induction of this motivational propensity necessitates that any pending needs decrease in
salience. The subjective salience of a particular working self-concept (i.e., the particular
self-conceptions, a subset of an individual's entire set of self-conceptions, which are
active at a given time [Markus and Nurius 1986, p. 957]) brings about a host of
associated needs. For instance, an individual may recognize the need for an upgraded
computer in the course of a working day, when his professional self-concept enjoys
subjective prominence. The same individual assumes the self-concept of a good father in
the evening; he recognizes his children's need for a vacation, and assigns less importance
to the computer. In consequence, an individual who adopts an extraordinary (unusual,
atypical) working self-concept, which differs from his ordinary (everyday, usual, typical)
working self-concepts, may be anticipated to lose sight of the pending needs that are
associated with the ordinary selves.
Naturalistic evidence indicates that the working self-concept differs across
contexts (Savin-Williams and Demo 1983). Situational factors have been found to
influence which particular self-conceptions become active by means of bringing into
salience particular dispositional characteristics (Markus and Kunda 1986), generating
particular experiences (Greenberg and Pyszczynski 1985; Nurius and Markus 1990),
initiating particular social roles (Burke 1980; Griffin, Chassin, and Young 1981), or
encouraging particular behaviors (Fazio, Effrein, and Falender 1981).
On these theoretical and empirical grounds, an extraordinary (unusual) context
may be anticipated to activate dispositional characteristics which the individual does not
commonly recognize in oneself, to engender subjective experiences which the individual
does not regularly undergo, or to induce social roles and behaviors which the person does
not normally engage in. In consequence, an extraordinary context may bring about an
unusual working self-concept. For example, patrons of the Fantasea Reef (Figure 3-1)
may experience themselves as adventurous marine explorers. On some occasions, the
extraordinary working self-concept does not depart far from the individual's ordinary
working self-concepts. For instance. The Showcase of Nations at EPCOT may generate
the experience of touring a foreign country, which generally constitutes a realistic
possible self. In contrast, the Fantasea Reef facilitates the assumption of an unlikely
In conclusion, marketing management may facilitate consumers in the assumption
of a paratelic motivational orientation by creating and maintaining extraordinary
(unusual, atypical) contexts, which, in turn, facilitate the adoption of an extraordinary
working self-concept and diminish the salience of the outstanding needs that are
associated with the everyday working self-concepts. This conceptual proposition, in
conjunction with the evidence about the moderating influence of motivational orientation
on the association between activation and pleasantness, provides a foundation for the
enhancement of various consumptive and shopping experiences.
The theoretical model identifies and examines a situational variable -
motivational orientation which moderates the relationship between activation and
pleasantness. In this manner, the present effort advances our theoretical comprehension
of the association between these constructs. By identifying the antecedent factors which
determine the hedonic quality (pleasantness) of people's subjective experiences in the
course of consumption and shopping, the model elucidates important aspects of consumer
behavior and furnishes definitive guidelines for effective marketing management.
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