Feeling disconnected from others : The effects of ambient darkness on hedonic choice
Huang, Irene Xun
Labroo, Aparna A.
Date of Issue2018
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
This research documents a novel effect of ambient lighting on consumer choice. We propose and find that ambient darkness (vs. brightness) can result in consumers feeling disconnected from others. As a result, consumers become more authentic in their choices and they choose hedonic over utilitarian options because these choices reflect what they truly want (Study 1). Past research had suggested darkness increases hedonic choice by making choice less observable, but we find this effect emerges even when the choice is already anonymous and darkness cannot further increase anonymity. Rather, feeling disconnected from others and less weight to social norms heightened self-authenticity in darker (vs. brighter) surroundings (Study 2). When consumers are reminded of social connection, this difference is attenuated (Study 3). Thus, consumers making hedonic choices regulate their choices when reminded of their social connections. Implications of these findings and possible extensions are discussed.
International Journal of Research in Marketing
© 2018 Elsevier. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijresmar.2017.12.005].