Marketing Letters

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 119–129 | Cite as

Is money really the root of all evil? The impact of priming money on consumer choice

  • Luqiong Tong
  • Yuhuang Zheng
  • Ping Zhao


Despite the ubiquitous importance of money, the psychology of money has until recently received relatively little attention. While the literature has found that priming money has notable psychological consequences, little research has been done on the impact of priming money on consumer choice, particularly, their choice between hedonic and utilitarian options. The current research proposes that priming money will increase the likelihood of a prevention regulatory focus, and consequently, consumers will be more likely to choose more prudent alternatives when facing a trade-off between hedonic and utilitarian options. Results of four experiments show that participants in the money priming condition were more likely to choose utilitarian over hedonic options, compared with participants in the control condition. Furthermore, this effect was mediated by consumers’ situational prevention focus on the exposure to money primes, but attenuated when credit cards are primed.


Money Hedonic products Utilitarian products Prevention focus 



The authors thank the Marketing Letters Co-Editor Dr. Frank R. Kardes and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful and helpful comments. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (70972027, 71272027).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics and Business AdministrationBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Economics and ManagementTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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