ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (4): 596-605.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.00596

• Research Reports • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Irrational Consumption Bias of Windfall Gains and Hard-earned Money: Based on IAT and Evidence from an ERP Study

PAN Xiaofu;WANG Zhaojing;GAO Fei;XU Ying   

  1. School of Cultural & Social Development Studies, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Received:2013-05-03 Online:2014-04-15 Published:2014-04-15
  • Contact: PAN Xiaofu


Because of their different weight in people's mind, various sources of wealth can lead to diverse attitudes and ways of consumption. By carrying out a series of experiments, predecessors have found out that windfall gains are spent more readily than hard-earned money. Base on the theory of implicit social cognition and mental account, use the implicit association test (IAT) and ERP technology to explore the difference made on people's mind by windfall gains and hard-earned gains, thus give an indirect test for its implicit attitudes and brain processing mechanism. The IAT result shows that windfall gains is more closely connected with easy consumption, while hard-earned money is more closely connected with the difficult consumption, which verifies the predecessors' conclusion in the implicit level; The ERP technology also found hard-earned money and windfall gains may base on different brain processing mechanism, and reflected in P3 and LPC composition, P3 could be the direct ERP’ components which reflects the hard-income group’s preference to consumer consumption patterns, while LPC components reflects people’s preference to consumption under an accidental income condition.

Key words: windfall gains, hard-earned money, implicit association test (IAT), irrational consumption, mental accounting, Brain processing mechanism