Helpful Hopefulness: The Effect of Future Positive Emotions on Consumption

22 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2011 Last revised: 3 Feb 2012

See all articles by Karen Page Winterich

Karen Page Winterich

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration

Kelly Haws

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Date Written: February 17, 2011

Abstract

Though positive affect may enhance self-control, some research suggests this is not always the case. To clarify this relationship, we investigate the role of temporal focus on the effect of specific positive emotions on self-control dilemmas in snack consumption. In four studies, we demonstrate that participants experiencing a future-focused positive emotion (i.e., hopefulness) consume less unhealthy food and have lower preferences for unhealthy snacks than those in a past or present-focused emotional state (i.e., pride, happiness). We demonstrate the role of temporal focus through its natural occurrence in emotion induction essays (study 1), chronic temporal focus (study 2), and manipulation of anticipated versus retrospective emotional states (study 3). A fourth study demonstrates that self-control benefits do not arise from future-focused negative emotions (i.e., fear) as they do from future-focused positive emotions. These results suggest that consumers may benefit from adapting the temporal focus of positive emotions to the future.

Suggested Citation

Winterich, Karen Page and Haws, Kelly, Helpful Hopefulness: The Effect of Future Positive Emotions on Consumption (February 17, 2011). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 505-524, October 2011; Mays Business School Research Paper No. 2012-33. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1763203 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1763203

Karen Page Winterich

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

Kelly Haws (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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