Getting a feel for price affect: A conceptual framework and empirical investigation of consumers' emotional responses to price information



Behavioral pricing research is cognitively biased. Therefore, the research agenda for this paper is to examine consumers' emotional responses to price information, or price affect. A conceptual framework of price affect based on appraisal theory is proposed. Moreover, a psychometric measure of price affect capturing positive and negative emotions is derived. A field experiment involving N = 1533 consumers reveals that a price increase leads to changes in price affect. Also, negative price affect is related to passive consumer behavior, whereas positive price affect is associated with proactive consumer behavior. Yet, a price increase reduces the importance of price affect in predicting consumer behavior. In addition, both price cognitions and price affect mediate the effect of a price increase on consumer behavior. Consistent with appraisal theory, a price increase exerts its causal influence on price affect through changes in price cognitions. Similarly, price affect mediates the effect of price cognitions on consumer behavior. Finally, price affect improves the prediction of consumer behavior beyond price cognitions. Results suggest that price affect is a stand alone, previously overlooked predictor of consumer behavior. Implications are discussed. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.