Advances in Consumer Research Volume 20, 1993
LINKING EMOTIONS AND VALUES IN
CONSUMPTION EXPERIENCES: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY
Debra A. Laverie, Arizona State University
Robert E. Kleine III, Arizona State University
Susan Schultz Kleine, Arizona State University
This study examines the link between emotions
and values in consumption experiences. A conceptual relationship
between the two constructs is developed. The proposed relationship
is tested in an exploratory study that elicited subject's own
consumption experiences and then measured emotions and values
on a paper and pencil instrument. The data support the premise
that emotions and values are related in consumption experiences.
Also, the data suggest that the self is the latent variable
that links emotions and values in consumption experiences.
We all spend much of our lives consuming products. How does
consumption make us feel? What are the values we obtain from,
or express through, our consumption? And how might these feelings
and values be linked through consumption experiences? People
respond to and choose activities that make them feel a certain
way (Havlena and Holbrook 1986) and correspond to important
values (Munson 1984). Empirically, consumption experiences are
linked with both values (Beatty, Kahle, Homer, and Misra 1985)
and emotions (Havlena and Holbrook 1986; Havlena, Holbrook,
and Lehman 1989). However, except for Holbrook's (1986) conceptualization
of consumption experience, these two constructs have not been
studied jointly in association with consumption.
Do consumers associate certain emotions with certain types
of value in consumption experiences? For example, the emotions
one associates with the playful or fun value of a consumption
experience may be very different from the emotions one associates
with a consumption experience that reflects the value of being
well respected. The purpose of this project is to explore empirically
the connection between patterns of emotions and values as they
are linked through consumption. In the next section we discuss
the emotion and values constructs and their potential linkage.
Then we report the results of a study which explores patterns
of emotions and values associated with consumption experiences.
THE LINK BETWEEN EMOTIONS AND VALUES IN CONSUMPTION
Empirical research demonstrates that emotions
are related to consumption behavior (Havlena and Holbrook 1986).
The important role that emotions play in consumer's lives suggests
that emotions can explain behavior in situations where other
constructs, such as attitude, do not account for all or even
a significant portion of the variability in behavior. For instance,
Allen, Machleit, and Schultz Kleine (1992) showed that emotions
supplement attitude in predicting consumption behavior. In addition,
Westbrook and Oliver (1991) demonstrated that emotions help
illuminate satisfaction (attitudinal) responses to consumption.
Emotions, which are feelings linked to a specific
behavior (Gardner 1984), represent a richer and more complex
realm of phenomena than does the attitude construct (Allen,
et al. 1992; Holbrook 1986). Emotions are either positive, negative,
or mixed in valence. Complex and/or conflicting emotions are
richer than attitudes. Therefore, attitude may be too simple
to represent the complexity of many consumption experiences
(Allen, et al. 1992). There are several psychological frameworks
that define and operationalize emotion (e.g., Izard 1977; Mehrabian
and Russell 1974; Plutchik 1980). The present research uses
Izard's framework which "assumes that separate and discrete
emotions exist and that each has measurable, experiential, and
motivational properties" (Izard 1972, p. 85). In his Differential
Emotions Theory Izard (1972) conceptualizes ten fundamental
emotions: joy, surprise, anger, disgust, contempt, shame, guilt,
fear, interest, and sadness. Izard's typology has initiated
research on emotions in a variety of consumer research contexts
(e.g., Allen et al. 1988, 1992; Batra and Ray 1986; Westbrook
1987; Westbrook and Oliver 1991).
Value is an abstract and complex construct that
can provide underlying continuity to behavior (Pitts and Woodside
1984). Following Rokeach (1973, p. 25), we construe values as
enduring beliefs that a specific mode of behavior or end-state
is preferred over other alternatives. Therefore, values are
a major influence on human behavior (Parsons and Shils 1951).
The view that values guide behavior is evident in literature
from psychology, sociology, and organizational behavior (Izard
1977; Rokeach 1973; Tolman 1951). In an interdisciplinary analysis
of personal values, Clawson and Vinson (1978) suggest that:
Values may prove to be one of the most powerful
explanations of, and influences on, consumer behavior. They
can perhaps equal or surpass the contributions of other major
constructs including attitudes, product attributes, degrees
of deliberating, product classification, and life style (p.
Therefore, the consumption of a product can express
or fulfill a certain value.
Consumers' preferences for certain values are likely to be
expressed through consumption. For example, certain products
and activities may be preferred by a person who values excitement
(e.g., fast cars, mountain biking, bungee cord jumping). On
the other hand, a person placing security as very important
would be likely to have a different set of preferred products
and activities (e.g., an airbag in their car, going for long
walks in the country, attending religious services). Researchers
have suggested that we need a better understanding of the links
between values and behaviors, and special consideration of how
values interact with situations (Beatty et al. 1985).
To study consumption related values, Kahle (1983) modified
the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS) into a smaller subset of values
that were person oriented and generalizable across many activities.
The List of Values (LOV) includes: sense of belonging, excitement,
fun and enjoyment, warm relationships with others, self fulfillment,
being well respected, a sense of accomplishment, security, and
self respect. The LOV approach is a parsimonious way to measure
values as compared to the RVS or Values and Lifestyles (VALS)
approaches. In addition the LOV contains many items that people
say influence their daily lives (Kahle 1986; Beatty et al. 1985).
Values and Emotions
There are several interesting parallels between emotions and
values. Psychologists (Tolman 1951; Izard 1977) and practioners
(e.g., Mowen 1988; Clawson and Vinson 1978) agree that both
emotions and values play an extremely important role in behavior.
Values are central beliefs expressed through specific behaviors
(Rokeach 1973) and emotions are feelings linked to specific
behaviors (Gardner 1985).
Values, according to Holbrook (1986), involve preference and
thus are directly tied to the positive and negative affective
opposition of emotions. The value expressed in a consumption
experience is the result of the emotions that accompany the
consumption experience. Accordingly, emotions and values are
intertwined in consumption (Holbrook 1986). Thus, it makes sense
that both values and emotions would be linked in consumer behaviors.
The objective of this research is to explore the relationship
between values and emotions in consumption experiences by employing
methods to represent the patterns of emotions that occur during
consumption experiences that are associated with certain values.
Specifically, are there discrete patterns of emotion that are
linked to patterns of values in consumption experiences? Toward
this end we conducted a study that examined the link between
values and emotions in consumption experiences.
We conducted a pretest to explore the relationship between
emotions and values in consumption experiences. Specifically,
the pretest assessed a methodology and the measures for exploring
the link between emotions and values. Using a paper and pencil
instrument, subjects (n=71) were exposed to two scenarios that
described consumption experiences. Each of nine scenarios expressed
a particular LOV value. Subjects described a consumption experience
that expressed a specific LOV value. Based on this self-reported
experience subjects responded to measures of emotions and values.
Due to space limitations the empirical findings of the pretest
are not reported. Results showed that seven of the ten emotions
were significantly different across values (anger, contempt,
and interest were not significant). However, the results appeared
to be hampered by two methodological limitations. One, following
Beatty et al.'s (1985) procedure, we asked subjects to rank
the LOV values based on their importance to the described consumption
experience. This ranking of values was difficult for the subjects
because values are so closely held (Munson and McIntyre 1979)
and some subjects didn't follow directions carefully. In addition,
rank order data precluded the use of many types of statistical
analyses. Two, the manipulation check suggested that some subjects
seemed to focus on the activity depicted in the scenario more
than the expressed value. Procedures were altered for the main
study to overcome these methodological limitations.
AN EXPLORATORY STUDY
We conducted a study to investigate the proposed link between
emotions and values in consumption experiences. Value expressive
consumption experiences were elicited from subjects after which
they responded to emotion and values measures. Described next
are the methods and subjects used in this study. We then report
Eliciting Value Expressive Consumption Experiences
A consumption experience was defined for subjects as any activity
they do while using a product. Several examples of consumption
experiences were provided (e.g., eating, driving a car, wearing
clothes, playing volleyball, and listening to music). Subjects
were then asked to recall and describe a consumption experience
that was important to them because of one of the nine LOV values.
For the "warm relationship with others" value, for
example, subjects were asked to think of an experience when
they felt warm and happy because they were with good friends
and family (how each value was defined for the subjects is described
in Appendix 1).
Emotions. We used Izard's (1977) DES-II to measure subject's
emotions during consumption experiences. The DES-II has been
an effective measure of emotions for consumer researchers (e.g.,
Allen et al. 1992, 1988; Westbrook and Oliver 1991). The DES-II
instructions ask the subjects to consider the experience they
described and to rate how often s/he experienced each emotion
item during the experience. Subjects rate 30 items, 3 for each
of the ten fundamental emotions. Each item is administered on
a 5-point never to very often scale.
Values. Kahle's (1983) List of Values (LOV) measured the values
subjects associated with the consumption experiences they described.
Based on the analytical limitations of rank ordering values
revealed in the pretest the LOV values were measured using Likert
scales. Values assessed using Likert scales are as reliable
as those measured with the ranking procedure (Munson and McIntyre
Subjects were instructed to think about the experience they
described and then to use the scales to indicate the importance
of each value to their experience. Each value was measured on
a 5-point extremely unimportant to extremely important scale.
Subjects also rank ordered the nine LOV values to afford a manipulation
Subjects were 131 male and female undergraduate students from
five sections of a marketing course. Each subject independently
described and answered questions about two consumption experiences.
Due to incomplete data one response was eliminated leaving 261
usable consumption experiences. The values described in the
consumption experience elicitation instructions were randomized
across subjects. The cover sheet indicated that participation
in the study was voluntary, the next sheet stated the study's
purpose and presented subject instructions.
Subjects read a definition of a consumption experience and
then read a description of one the nine LOV values. Subjects
were asked to write out a description of a consumption experience
that was important to them because of the value that they were
exposed to. Finally, subjects responded to Izard's DES-II emotion
measures and the LOV values on Likert scales. In addition, subjects
ranked the LOV values according to their importance in the experience
they had described.
The emotion and value variables were first factor analyzed
to assess the dimensionality of each construct. The variables
that resulted from the factor analyses were then analyzed via
canonical correlation analysis to assess the emotion-value relationship.
Structure of the Emotion Measure
The a priori measurement model which specified 10 factors,
each consisting of three items, was analyzed via confirmatory
factor analysis (SAS's Proc CALIS). The overall fit of the ten
factor model, analyzing the covariance matrix, was acceptable
(c2(381)=620.66, p>.0001, Bentler and Bonett's
Normed Index=.975, RMR=.213). All parameter estimates were reasonable
and in the anticipated direction. The average variance extracted
from the items was .59 (Bagozzi and Yi 1988). The distribution
of the residuals is approximately normal. Only three residuals
exceeded 2.0. Furthermore, the fit is comparable with other
reported confirmatory factor analyses of Izard's measurement
model (e.g., Allen, et al. 1988). Sum scales were constructed
from the thirty items for the ten emotions as defined Izard
FACTOR ANALYSIS OF VALUE ITEMS (VARIMAX ROTATED)
Structure of the Value Measure
The LOV values are suggested to be nine different values that
are important in people's daily lives (Kahle 1983). In addition
the LOV measure has demonstrated convergent and discriminant
validity in past research (Beatty et al. 1985; Kahle 1983).
This implies theCadmittedly strongChypothesis that if the LOV
is submitted to a factor analysis nine factors will result.
An exploratory factor analysis of the scaled data on the nine
LOV values using varimax rotation reveals three distinct factors
(see Table 1). The first factor is defined by four highly loading
values that all relate to interactions with others (e.g., a
sense of belonging, warm relationships with others, security,
and being well respected). Accordingly, we labeled this factor
'others'. The second factor is formed by two self related outcomes
and is labeled 'self' (e.g., sense of accomplishment and self
fulfillment). The value self-respect cross loads on the 'others'
factor which intuitively makes sense since self respect is often
governed by one's perception of what other people think about
him or her. Due to the heavy cross loading this item is not
used in further analyses. The third factor is labeled 'hedonic'
and is made up of the values of fun/enjoyment and excitement.
These results suggest that the LOV consists of three factors
in the context of consumption experiences. Kennedy, Best, and
Kahle (1988) report a similar factor structure. Based on the
results of the factor analysis three sum scales were constructed
for the value items that loaded together on a factor. These
sum scales are used in the canonical correlation analysis reported
To check the efficacy of instructions we compared the top-ranked
value to the value the subjects's consumption experience was
supposed to express. On average 76% of the subjects ranked the
value described in their consumption experience as the most
important (e.g., number one). The percentage of subjects who
ranked the value described in their stimulus as number one ranged
from 95% for a 'sense of accomplishment' to 57% for 'well respected'.
This suggests that the nine values are well represented by subject's
The Relationship Between Values and Emotions
We explored the relationship between emotions and values in
consumption experiences using canonical correlation analysis.
Specifically, the three values factors (e.g., others, self,
and hedonic) were related to the ten emotions (e.g., joy, surprise,
anger, disgust, contempt, shame, guilt, fear, interest, and
sadness). Three significant canonical variates were obtained
(see Table 2).
The loadings on the first canonical variate suggest that consumption
experiences expressing hedonic values (e.g., fun and enjoyment
and excitement) are associated with the emotions interest, surprise,
and enjoyment. This variate accounts for much (37%) of the shared
variance between emotions and values.
The second canonical variate suggests that interest and fear
are the most salient emotions in consumption experiences that
express self related values (e.g., sense of accomplishment and
self fulfillment). This link accounted for 29% of the shared
The third variate suggests a relationship between the others
related value and the emotions of shame and decreasing surprise
in consumption experiences. However, this variate accounts for
only 9% of the shared variance and therefore should be interpreted
with caution, despite its statistical significance (Pedhazur
Anger, sadness, disgust, contempt, and guilt, all negative
emotions, did not help in explaining the linear combinations
between emotions and values. The emotions related to values
are typically positive. In addition, when people are asked to
recall something related to a value and write about it they
typically pick a positive experience to discuss (Schrum, McCarty,
and Loeffler 1990).
CORRELATION ANALYSIS BETWEEN VALUES AND EMOTIONS
The results offer encouraging support for the proposed link
between certain emotions and values in consumption experiences.
These findings are a step toward a better understanding of post-purchase
consumer behavior. At a minimum, these results encourage further
examination of the link between values and emotions as facets
of consumption experiences. In addition, the results suggest
some methodological considerations that need to be addressed
in future research.
The Relationship Between Values and Emotions
The results of the canonical analysis suggest that certain
emotions are linked to consumption experiences that express
different values. Consumption experiences that are valued because
they are enjoyable are linked to positive emotions. On the other
hand, experiences that are valued because of their link to the
self are combined with interest and a negative emotion, fear.
Values that center around others are linked to shame and decreasing
surprise. It is interesting to note the parallels between this
exploratory study's findings and the literature on the self.
The social-psychological literature suggests three facets of
the self that can be linked to the three value variables. The
'hedonic', 'self', and 'others' values parallel the hedonic,
private, and public aspects of the self (e.g., Greenwald and
Breckler 1985). The 'hedonic' value relates to three emotions
that all involve arousal (interest, surprise, and enjoyment).
The results suggest that this variate represents a hedonic portion
of the self. This aspect of the self is hedonically guided toward
positive affective states (Greenwald and Breckler 1985). In
addition, the hedonic self is a condition of not distinguishing
sharply between self and others (Greenwald and Breckler 1985;
Schlenker 1985). This state is evident in the first canonical
variate. The 'others' and 'self' values load heavily and equally
on this 'hedonic' variate.
The second variate labeled 'self' resembles the private self.
The private self allows for self-evaluation in the absence of
others (Greenwald and Breckler 1985). This condition is clear
in the canonical loadings, the 'others' value loads negatively
on the 'self' variate. A major task of the private self is individual
achievement. The value items that load on the 'self' factor
(a sense of accomplishment and self-fulfillment; see Table 1)
The emotions related to the private self are interest and fear.
Intuitively one would expect interest to be important to the
private self as this aspect of the self is guided by internal
standards (McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, and Lowell 1953). On
the other hand, it may seem surprising that fear is an important
emotion in the private self. However, the private self is developed
based on the internalization of the evaluative standards of
significant others (Greenwald and Breckler 1985). For example,
a respondent wrote: "I felt excited and scared going through
sorority rush. I was terrified because I .Ê.Ê. was not sure
if I would fit in. .Ê.Ê. I was scared, but I hoped that what
I was wearing would make me feel comfortable and help me to
fit in." Therefore, the emotion of fear may be linked to
the concern of meeting the standards one has adopted for him/herself.
The third variate depicts the public self. The public self
is sensitive to the evaluations of others and seeks to win the
approval of those who are important to the individual (Greenwald
and Breckler 1985). An important task of the public self is
earning credit in exchange relationships with others. These
characteristics are evident in the values that form the 'others'
factor, namely 'being well-respected', a 'sense of belonging',
'warm relationships with others', and 'security'.
The emotions that are linked to the public self are shame and
decreasing surprise. Although it may seem surprising that shame
is an important emotion in the public self, shame is the primary
social emotion (Goffman 1967; Lewis 1971; Scheff 1990; Rosenberg
1979). Shame is an emotion that arises from the monitoring of
one's own actions by viewing one's self from the standpoint
of others (Scheff 1990). Thus, it makes sense that shame is
an important emotion in the public self which is concerned with
what other people think of us. Likewise, the public self is
adverse to the potential embarrassment of being caught by surprise
in social situations. In sum, the results of the canonical correlation
analysis suggest some interesting relationships between emotions
and values in consumption experiences. It is encouraging that
these relationships can be explained by the extensive literature
on the self. Furthermore, these results lead us to speculate
that the self is the underlying link between values and emotions
in consumption experiences.
Limitations and Future Research
The specific findings of this study cannot be generalized without
caution. As noted earlier, the research is exploratory in nature.
In addition, both the values and the emotions measures are based
on retrospection. Future research measuring emotions and values
during the consumption experience would provide important insight
into consumption experiences.
Measurement of Emotions. Most measures of emotions, such as
Izard's scale used in this research, are essentially based on
aided recall (Westbrook 1987). This research enhanced subjects'
recollection by asking them to write a detailed description
of their experience. However, alternative ways of tapping emotions
may yield different information about consumption experiences.
For instance, measurement directly after an experience would
likely lead to richer information as compared to the emotions
one can recall. As noted in the findings of this research typically
just a few emotions are associated with certain values. Perhaps
this is because the most important one or two emotions are all
that subjects recall and they may have experienced a much larger
range of emotions during the experience. Identification of the
best approach for predicting consumption behavior is a task
for future research.
Another question consumer researchers need to address is the
appropriateness of psychological measurement schemes for consumption
activities. The findings of this research suggest that the many
negative emotions in Izard's scale may not be suited to value
expressive consumption experiences since values are typically
positive. It appears that consumer researchers should explore
alternative measurement frameworks or develop a measurement
procedure that is more appropriate for consumption behavior.
The qualitative measurement of emotions (Smith-Lovin 1990) is
one promising alternative.
Examining the Dimensions of Values. This research suggests
that the dimensionality of Kahle's (1983) LOVs needs to be assessed
further in the context of consumption experiences. Although
designed to reflect values that consumers experience in their
daily lives (Beatty et al. 1986), our findings suggest that
the LOV values represent three distinct factors. This encourages
further examination of the validity of this construct in the
context of consumption experiences. The value factors offer
a parsimonious view of values in the consumption context.
In addition, the study supports measuring values on Likert
type scales. This produced better quality data and more flexibility
in analysis. The Likert type approach does not force the respondent
to rank order values that may be equally important and it allows
for differences in the intensity with which a particular value
is held (Munson 1984; Munson and McIntrye 1979; Clawson and
Emotions and Values in Consumption Experiences. Both emotions
and values are rich constructs for understanding post-purchase
consumer behavior. The results of this study provide evidence
of a connection between patterns of emotions and values in consumption
experiences. Perhaps consumers choose certain consumption experiences
because of this linkage. Researchers whose interest is pre-purchase
phenomena might explore how the effectiveness of promotional
messages that reflect specific values and emotions differ across
common segmentation variables. Furthermore, different aspects
of the self may help explain the emotion-value linkage. Future
research should address this role of the self in consumption
The following was used to prompt a consumption experience that
expresses a particular LOV value: "Think of an experience
when you were using products and ________." One of the
following phrases completed the sentence: 1) you were well respected;
2) you were self-fulfilled; 3) you felt a sense of accomplishment;
4) you felt a sense of security; 5) you felt a sense of belonging;
6) you felt self respect; 7) you were excited; 8) you felt warm
relationships with other people; 9) you had fun.
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