Doctor of Philosophy
Products and services often provide value that goes beyond functional utility. Drawing from a compensatory consumption model, which suggests that consumption is a means to regulate self-discrepancies, the current research suggests that consumers are motivated to self-regulate their emotions and this self-regulation can be accomplished via consumption. Specifically, emotional and physiological deviations from a steady state motivate individuals to find balance in order to alleviate those deviations. Three papers provide evidence for this hypothesis. Utilizing an embodied cognition framework for chapter 2 and chapter 3, I demonstrate that individuals are motivated to reduce a perceived lack of interpersonal warmth by substituting physical warmth, and vice versa (chapter 2). Next, I argue that experiencing action regret results in self-conscious emotions (e.g. shame, guilt) associated with physical warmth, which in turn motivates individuals to ameliorate those emotional states via interaction with objects that are perceived to be physically or psychologically opposite in temperature (chapter 3). Finally, in chapter 4, I argue that sadness can serve as a regulatory mechanism to alleviate loneliness and achieve social connectedness.
Rotman, Jeff D., "Consumption as Emotion Regulation" (2017). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 4568.