Purchase Behavior and Psychophysiological Responses to Different Price Levels


Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Outi Somervuori, Researcher, Aalto University School of Business, P.O. Box 21220, 00076 Aalto, Finland (outi.somervuori@aalto.fi).


The aim of the study was to examine emotional processes when product prices for different brands were changed. In a within-subjects design, the participants were presented purchase decision trials with 14 different products (seven private label and seven national brand products) whose price levels were changed while their facial electromyography (EMG) and electrodermal activity were recorded. The results suggest that low prices and national brand products induce higher positive emotions indexed with zygomatic EMG compared to high prices and private label products. Also, positive emotions are related to greater purchase intent. Naturally, a low price has also a direct positive influence on purchase intent. However, the involvement of emotions and the influence that price and brand have on elicitation of emotions may be one explanation for consumers’ varying purchase behavior. The results highlight the importance of emotional factors in pricing research and support the usefulness of psychophysiological measures in the consumer research.