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Acta Psychologica Sinica
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Loneliness makes me fall in love with you: The influence of product display on lonely individual’s product preference
FENG Wenting; WANG Tao; WEI Hua; ZHOU Nan
(Economics and Management School of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China)
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Abstract  

Increasing research attention has been paid to the influence of loneliness on consumer judgment and decision making, especially lonely people’s attitude to anthropomorphic product. However, past studies are exclusively focused on only one aspect of lonely people’s psychological demands, which cannot fully explain the complexity of the psychological processes underlying their attitudes to anthropomorphic product. Built on previous research in loneliness, this research explores how lonely people form attitude toward anthropomorphic product by taking an integrative perspective, which analyzes the influence of product display on lonely people’s attitude based on self-regulation system theory. This research proposes that when anthropomorphic product and normal product are presented apart, this display format activates lonely consumer’s heighten system and increases their preferences for anthropomorphic product, whereas when these products are presented together, this display format triggers lonely consumer’s balance system and promotes their preferences for normal product. Last but not least, this research identifies a boundary condition of the main effect by examining the moderating role of information type.

Based on three studies, the authors investigated the influence of product display on lonely individual’s attitude to anthropomorphic product. In Study 1, the researchers testified the influence of product display on lonely people’s attitude to anthropomorphic product which constructed an integrative model and verified the main effect. 65 lonely individuals participated in Study 2 which used the relationship between products (substitutive or complementary) to substitute product presentation. The purpose was to further testify the theoretical process underlying the main effect. Study 3 examined the moderating role of information type in the relationship between product display and product attitude.

The results of the present research are three-fold: to start with, product display influences lonely people’s attitude to anthropomorphic product. When products are displayed apart, lonely individuals prefer anthropomorphic product. However, the opposite is true when products are displayed together. Secondly, the relationship between products (substitutive, complementary) can substitute product display (apart, together). This research also examines the moderating effect of information type on the main effect. The results proclaim that when products are displayed apart, ‘to do’ information can promote lonely people’s attitude and purchase intention to anthropomorphic product as compared to ‘to go’ information; and when products are displayed together, this effect will reverse.

These findings enrich the theoretical value of loneliness in three ways: firstly, it focuses on lonely individual’s attitude to anthropomorphic product in an integrative perspective, which reconciles conflicting research findings in this field. In doing so, this research not only identifies the boundary conditions of lonely people’s increased preference for anthropomorphic product, but also investigated how to make this effect stronger by manipulating information type. In conclusion, this research investigates the influence of product display on lonely people’s attitude to anthropomorphic product and provides feasible guideline for companies to employ anthropomorphic strategy appropriately.

Keywords font-family: "Times New Roman"      color: black      letter-spacing: 0.2pt      mso-bidi-font-size: 10.5pt      mso-font-width: 102%      mso-ansi-language: EN-US      mso-fareast-language: ZH-CN      mso-bidi-language: AR-SA      mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'      product display')" href="#">mso-bidi-font-weight: bold">product display      anthropomorphic product      loneliness      self-regulationfont-family: "Times New Roman"      color: black      letter-spacing: 0.2pt      mso-bidi-font-size: 10.5pt      mso-font-width: 102%      mso-ansi-language: EN-US      mso-fareast-language: ZH-CN      mso-bidi-language: AR-SA      mso-fareast-font-family: 宋体      system')" href="#">mso-bidi-font-weight: bold"> system     
Corresponding Authors: WANG Tao, E-mail: wangtao@whu.edu.cn   
Issue Date: 25 April 2016
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Cite this article:   
WANG Tao,FENG Wenting,WEI Hua, et al. Loneliness makes me fall in love with you: The influence of product display on lonely individual’s product preference[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00398
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00398     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2016/V48/I4/398
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