, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 522-537
Date: 23 Jan 2008

The effect of incidental affect on preference for the status quo

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Abstract

The authors report results from four experiments that describe the influence of incidental affect on preference for the status quo. The first and second experiments, each using different affect induction methods, demonstrated that positive affect increased and negative affect reduced the choice of the status quo alternative. The third experiment replicated the effect of incidental affect on a separate dimension of status quo bias, the preference of omission. The last experiment investigated whether preference for the status quo was affected by four specific emotions that differed along valence and certainty appraisal dimensions. Compared with affective states associated with uncertainty, affective states associated with certainty led to a greater magnitude of status quo bias. The certainty appraisals mediated the effect of specific emotions on preference for the status quo, regardless of the emotion valence. The findings extend our knowledge by showing that incidental affect can influence consumer choice through emotion-related appraisals.