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Using facial EMG and eye tracking to study integral affect in discrete choice experiments

Carsten Rasch, Jordan J. Louviere and Thorsten Teichert

Journal of choice modelling, 2015, vol. 14, issue C, 32-47

Abstract: Although affect has been found to be an integral part of decision-making, it is largely ignored in the consumer choice modeling literature. Rational choice assumptions continue to be dominant in discrete choice experiments (DCEs). One reason why affect has been ignored is that immediate affect during the choice process cannot be “seen” or measured easily. Consequently, most prior work on affect focuses on self-reports, which may be unreliable and merely self-justifications. Thus, we do not know whether immediate affect actually plays a key role in consumer choices. We addressed this gap by testing whether immediate affect can be observed in fairly trivial choices, and we tried to identify the drivers of and contexts in which affect occurs. We used a novel combination of eye tracking and facial electromyography (fEMG) methods to observe and measure integral affect for each choice option in a DCE. Results indicate the feasibility of the combination of eye tracking and fEMG during DCEs, the existence of affect in stated choice experiments for fairly trivial product categories, and provide insights into drivers and contexts of affective choice processes. Among others, best and worst task frames show to influence integral affect in DCEs. Findings stress the need for future joint investigations of cognitive and affective processes in consumer choice tasks. Better understanding of these processes should lead to valuable insights into how real-time marketing actions influence decisions, ways to improve the predictive performance of choice models, and novel ways to help consumers and organizations make better decisions.

Keywords: Consumer choice; Integral affect; Facial electromyography; Eye tracking; Best-worst DCE (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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