How Happiness Affects Choice

How Happiness Affects Choice

By
Cassie Mogilner, Jennifer Aaker, Sepandar D. Kamvar
Journal of Consumer Research.
2012, Vol. 39, Issue 2, Pages 429-443

Consumers want to be happy, and marketers are increasingly trying to appeal to consumers’ pursuit of happiness. However, the results of six studies reveal that what happiness means varies, and consumers’ choices reflect those differences. In some cases, happiness is defined as feeling excited, and in other cases, happiness is defined as feeling calm. The type of happiness pursued is determined by one’s temporal focus, such that individuals tend to choose more exciting options when focused on the future, and more calming options when focused on the present moment. These results suggest that the definition of happiness, and consumers’ resulting choices, are dynamic and malleable.