ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2023, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (2): 301-317.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2023.00301

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


李斌1,2,3(), 朱钦1, 贺汝婉1,4(), 李爱梅1, 卫海英1,3   

  1. 1暨南大学管理学院, 广州 510632
    2暨南大学企业发展研究所, 广州 510632
    3广州品牌创新发展研究基地, 广州 510632
    4广州市荔湾区退役军人事务局, 广州 510150
  • 收稿日期:2021-09-26 发布日期:2022-11-10 出版日期:2023-02-25
  • 通讯作者: 李斌,贺汝婉;
  • 基金资助:

The effect of mortality salience on consumers' preference for experiential purchases and its mechanism

LI Bin1,2,3(), ZHU Qin1, HE Ruwan1,4(), LI Aimei1, WEI Haiying1,3   

  1. 1School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
    2The Institute of Enterprise Development, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
    3Research Institute on Brand Innovation and Development of Guangzhou, Guangzhou 510632, China
    4Liwan District Veterans Affairs Bureau, Guangzhou 510150, China
  • Received:2021-09-26 Online:2022-11-10 Published:2023-02-25
  • Contact: LI Bin,HE Ruwan;


消费者的决策心理与购买行为会受到周边环境暴露的死亡信息的影响发生变化。本文从意义维持模型出发, 通过4个实验探讨了死亡凸显对消费者体验性消费选择偏好的影响及其作用机制。结果发现, 死亡凸显情境下消费者更倾向选择体验性消费。进一步分析发现, 死亡凸显通过降低消费者的生命意义感提高了其对体验性消费的选择偏好。同时, 社会支持对此间接效应起到了缓冲作用。研究结果初步揭示, 补偿生命意义感的缺失是死亡凸显增加体验性消费选择的潜在机制, 这也为新冠疫情背景下的消费者决策行为干预提供了一定参考。

关键词: 死亡凸显, 体验性消费, 实物性消费, 生命意义感, 社会支持


Inevitably, consumers will be exposed to death-related information in their daily lives. For example, they are informed about deaths and injuries caused by accidents, terrorism and disasters on social media. They may also encounter the experiences of deceased friends and relatives or the news of unfortunate strangers. Especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are more frequently exposed to death cues. Researches have shown that consumers' decision-makings and purchasing behaviors shift when dealing with death threats. Compared to material consumption, experiential consumption delivers greater and persistent well-being and it is emerging as an extremely important consumption pattern. It is unclear, however, whether these mortality cues will exert positive or negative effects on consumers’ preference for experiential purchases. Based on the meaning maintenance model, 4 studies were conducted to examine how mortality salience influences consumers' preference for experiential purchases.
In Study 1a and Study 1b, we experimentally manipulated mortality salience and examined its effect on consumers’ preference for experiential purchases. Study 1a (N = 140) was a single factor (mortality salience) between-subjects design, participants were randomly assigned to different groups to imagine about incurable infectious disease or dental surgery. Participants in Study 1b (N = 252) were instructed to write about death or dental pain. Study 2 (N =219) was designed to test the mediating role of meaning in life. Participants were required to read a news report concerning traffic accident or dental surgery, and then finish the Meaning in Life Questionnaire. Study 3 (N = 166) was a 2 (mortality salience vs. control condition) × 2 (social support: high level vs. low level) between-subjects design. Participants were provided a news report pertaining to the global fatalities under the COVID-19 pandemic in mortality salience condition, and pertaining to global tourism during the pandemic period in the control condition. Social support was manipulated by writing in detail a difficult situation “in which your family or friends accompanied you”, or “in which you had to face all by yourself”. Additionally, we used a single-paper meta-analysis (SPM) to document a robust effect across all studies.
The main results of this study are as follows: (1) Exposed to mortality salience will lead to stronger preference for experiential purchases. (2) The effects seem to be driven by meaning in life, whereby exposure to mortality salience undermines consumers' meaning in life, and consumers will gravitate towards experiential consumption to enhance their impaired meaning. (3) Social support moderates the effect of mortality salience on meaning in life. Only when consumers received low level of social support, will mortality salience reduce their meaning in life. (4) Social support moderates the mediating effect of meaning in life on mortality salience and preference for experiential purchases. Specifically, meaning in life mediates the effect of mortality salience on preference for experiential purchases only when consumers received low social support. To enhance the overall validity, we performed a single-paper meta-analysis (SPM) on the four studies. The SPM showed that consumers had greater preference of experiential purchase when exposed to mortality salience (Estimate β = 0.30, SE = 0.07, z = 4.178, p < 0.001), which strengthened the robustness of our general conclusion.
This research yields practical implications by demonstrating that mortality salience exerts positive effect on consumers' preference for experiential purchases, which enables us to identify the changes in consumption patterns and mindset under the pandemic, providing references for marketing and promotion strategies.

Key words: mortality salience, experiential purchase, material purchase, meaning in life, social support