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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    All tests in this paper are two-tailed tests.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Yuhuang Zheng.

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Tong, L., Zheng, Y. & Zhao, P. Is money really the root of all evil? The impact of priming money on consumer choice. Mark Lett 24, 119–129 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-013-9224-7

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Keywords

  • Money
  • Hedonic products
  • Utilitarian products
  • Prevention focus