ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (1): 78-90.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00078

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


王艳, 蒋晶()   

  1. 中国人民大学商学院, 北京 100872
  • 收稿日期:2020-09-02 发布日期:2021-11-26 出版日期:2022-01-25
  • 通讯作者: 蒋晶
  • 基金资助:

The effect of environmental disorderliness on variety seeking behavior and its mechanism

WANG Yan, JIANG Jing()   

  1. School of Business, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
  • Received:2020-09-02 Online:2021-11-26 Published:2022-01-25
  • Contact: JIANG Jing


在日常生活和购物环境中, 混乱无序无处不在。然而, 关于环境无序性对消费者产品选择行为的影响研究却十分有限, 本文试图填补这一不足。具体而言, 本文创新性地提出环境无序性与多样化寻求行为之间存在着因果关系, 且自我效能威胁和未来偏好不确定感在其中发挥链式中介作用。通过1个预实验和4个实验, 本文发现无论在真实环境、线下购物环境、工作环境, 还是线上产品陈列情境下, 环境无序性均可提升多样化寻求行为; 无序的环境会对消费者的自我效能产生威胁, 进而增强其对未来产品偏好的不确定性感知, 最终促使其通过增加多样化寻求行为来应对未来可能变化的产品偏好。

关键词: 环境无序性, 多样化寻求, 自我效能威胁, 未来偏好不确定感


Given the development of the economy and technology, environmental disorderliness resulting from product abundance and excessiveness has become ubiquitous and cannot be avoided. Thus, examining the effect of environmental disorderliness on consumers’ choices is of great theoretical and practical significance. A growing body of research has focused on the negative consequences of environmental disorderliness on individual choices and decision making. However, few studies have explored its potential positive outcomes. This research attempts to fill in this gap by proposing that environmental disorderliness has a positive effect on consumers’ variety-seeking behavior, which is sequentially mediated by self-efficacy threat and perceived preference uncertainty.
We conducted one pilot study and four experiments to test these hypotheses. The pilot study combining a qualitative method and a quantitative method suggested a causal relationship between environmental disorderliness and self-efficacy threat. Study 1 was designed to test the main effect of environmental disorderliness on variety-seeking behavior by using a real laboratory environment and assessing real behavior. Studies 2 and 3 adopted two different approaches to test the sequential mediation effect. Specifically, Study 2 tested the mediation effect by measuring subjects’ self-efficacy threat and perceived future preference uncertainty, whereas Study 3 adopted a moderation approach to test the mediation effect by manipulating self-efficacy. Study 4 validated the results of Study 2 and ruled out the potential explanation of individual change-seeking tendency.
In line with our predictions, environmental disorderliness (vs. orderliness) led to higher variety-seeking tendencies, which was sequentially driven by self-efficacy threat and perceived preference uncertainty. It occurs when a disorganized environment threatens consumers’ self-efficacy, which further increases their perceived uncertainty about future preference, and consequently bolsters their variety-seeking tendencies in the subsequent consumption choices. These effects were made robust by varying the experimental stimuli, product categories, and consumption decision scenarios. Additionally, we ruled out a possible explanation that involves sense of control, mood, and individual change-seeking tendency.
Our findings contribute to the literature in several areas. First, by establishing the causal relationship between environmental disorderliness and variety-seeking behavior, this research provides a new angle to study environmental disorderliness. That is, environmental disorderliness can elicit positive effects on consumer choices. Second, this research documents self-efficacy as a possible mechanism underlying the disorderliness effect on variety seeking. Third, this research contributes to the literature of future preference uncertainty by demonstrating that it can be heightened by self-efficacy threat and subsequently affect variety-seeking behavior. Finally, the current research provides managerial implications for managers on how to match their product promotion strategies efficiently with the consumption environment both online and offline.

Key words: environmental disorderliness, variety-seeking, self-efficacy threat, future preference uncertainty