In This Chapter

The Nature and Role of Affect in Consumer Behavior

Authored by: Joel B. Cohen , Michel Tuan Pham , Eduardo B. Andrade

Handbook of Consumer Psychology

Print publication date:  February  2008
Online publication date:  October  2012

Print ISBN: 9780805856033
eBook ISBN: 9780203809570
Adobe ISBN: 9781136676215


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In the intervening years since publication of the chapter “Affect and Consumer Behavior” (Cohen & Areni, 1991) in the Handbook of Consumer Behavior (Kassarjian & Robertson, 1991), research in consumer behavior dealing with affect has exploded, making it one of the field’s central research topics. Within psychology more generally, Schimmack and Crites (2005) located 923 references to affect between 1960 and 1980 and 4,170 between 1980 and 2000. Since research on affect has become more specialized, this chapter will concentrate on the various ways affect influences judgment and choice rather than on broader and historical perspectives. These will include the role of affect in information retrieval, differential processing of affectively colored information (including the role of affect in strengthening mental associations and memory consolidation), how and when affect provides information that influences judgments and decisions, and the motivational role of affect in guiding behavior and signaling the need for changes in vigilance, intensity, and direction. We begin, however, with some essential definitions.

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