Objective Measures of Emotion Related to Brand Attitude: A New Way to Quantify Emotion-Related Aspects Relevant to Marketing

School of Psychology, Faculty of Science and Information Technology, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 11/2011; 6(11):e26782. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026782
Source: PubMed


With this study we wanted to test the hypothesis that individual like and dislike as occurring in relation to brand attitude can be objectively assessed. First, individuals rated common brands with respect to subjective preference. Then, they volunteered in an experiment during which their most liked and disliked brand names were visually presented while three different objective measures were taken. Participant's eye blinks as responses to acoustic startle probes were registered with electromyography (EMG) (i) and their skin conductance (ii) and their heart rate (iii) were recorded. We found significantly reduced eye blink amplitudes related to liked brand names compared to disliked brand names. This finding suggests that visual perception of liked brand names elicits higher degrees of pleasantness, more positive emotion and approach-oriented motivation than visual perception of disliked brand names. Also, skin conductance and heart rate were both reduced in case of liked versus disliked brand names. We conclude that all our physiological measures highlight emotion-related differences depending on the like and dislike toward individual brands. We suggest that objective measures should be used more frequently to quantify emotion-related aspects of brand attitude. In particular, there might be potential interest to introduce startle reflex modulation to measure emotion-related impact during product development, product design and various further fields relevant to marketing. Our findings are discussed in relation to the idea that self reported measures are most often cognitively polluted.

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    • "The respective units were labeled with log μS. Mean HR values (in beats per minute) were calculated for time windows starting from the onset of picture/sound presentation until 2 s (picture presentation) or 5 s (sound presentation) after the onset of the stimuli (Walla, Brenner, and Koller, 2011). "
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    • "SRM is a 114 valid approach to selectively measure the valence of affective information processing. It is easy to 115 apply also in a field setting and can perfectly be combined with methods measuring the associated 116 level of arousal, like skin conductance and heart rate (Dawson et al., 1999; Walla et al., 2011). 117 Measuring the underlying forces of behavior other than mere stated intention is also crucial 118 regarding health-related issues with respect to consumption. "
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    • "Hence, testing whether it would be possible to use startle reflex modulation to measure attitudes towards brands seems a worthwhile endeavor. Walla et al. (2011) used startle reflex modulation to assess the emotional side of brand attitudes without any of the cognitive blurring that is usually seen with traditional behavioral measures. 21 subjects participated in their study. "
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