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On the Consumption of Negative Feelings

59 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2006  

Eduardo B. Andrade

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Joel B. Cohen

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration

Abstract

How can the hedonistic assumption (i.e., people's willingness to pursue pleasure and avoid pain) be reconciled with people choosing to expose themselves to experiences known to elicit negative feelings? We assess how (1) the intensity of the negative feelings, (2) positive feelings in the aftermath, and (3) the coactivation of positive and negative feelings contribute to our understanding of such behavior. In a series of 4 studies, consumers with either approach or avoidance tendencies (toward horror movies) were asked to report their positive and/or negative feelings either after (experiment 1) or while (experiments 2, 3A, and 3B) they were exposed to a horror movie. We demonstrate how a model incorporating coactivation principles and enriched with a protective frame moderator (via detachment) can provide a more parsimonious and viable description of the affective reactions that result from counter-hedonic behavior.

JEL Classification: M31

Suggested Citation

Andrade, Eduardo B. and Cohen, Joel B., On the Consumption of Negative Feelings. Journal of Consumer Research, October 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=892028

Eduardo B. Andrade (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Joel B. Cohen

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration ( email )

Gainesville, FL 32611
United States

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