Feeling Love and Doing More for Distant Others: Specific Positive Emotions Differentially Affect Prosocial Consumption
Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming
55 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2014 Last revised: 21 Mar 2015
Date Written: September 1, 2014
Marketers often employ a variety of positive emotions to encourage consumption or promote a particular behavior (e.g., to buy, donate, or recycle) benefiting an organization or cause. We show that specific positive emotions do not universally increase prosocial behavior but rather encourage different types of prosocial behavior. Four studies show that whereas positive emotions (i.e., love, hope, pride, compassion) all induce prosocial behavior toward close entities (relative to a neutral emotional state), only love induces prosocial behavior toward distant others and international organizations. Love’s effect is driven by a distinct form of broadening, characterized by extending feelings of social connection and the boundary of caring to be more inclusive of others regardless of relatedness. Love — as a trait and a momentary emotion — is unique among positive emotions in fostering connectedness that other positive emotions (hope and pride) do not and broadening behavior in a way that other connected emotions (compassion) do not. This research contributes to the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotion by demonstrating a distinct type of broadening for love and adds an important qualification to the general finding that positive emotions uniformly encourage prosocial behavior.
Keywords: Broaden-and-Build, Love, Hope, Pride, Compassion, Prosocial Behavior, Positive Emotions, Broadening
JEL Classification: C91, M3, M14, M31, M37
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation