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The impact of mortality anxiety on attitude toward product innovation

Benjamin Boeuf

Journal of Business Research, 2019, vol. 104, issue C, 44-60

Abstract: Threatening environmental stimuli, such as terror attacks, armed conflicts and death imagery in advertising, have been shown to positively affect consumer attitudes and behaviors toward products. This article calls into question the generalizability of this effect to innovative products by showing that mortality anxiety, i.e., individuals' fear of their own mortality, leads to product innovation resistance. Drawing from the literature on innovation adoption and mortality anxiety, four experimental studies provide evidence that while mortality anxiety has a positive impact on the evaluation of noninnovative products, it negatively affects the evaluation of innovative products. When faced with mortality anxiety, consumers are more likely to experience state nostalgia, a temporary backward-looking mindset, in contrast with the forward-looking mode necessary to favor product innovation adoption. This process is confirmed by the positive impact of mortality anxiety on attitude toward innovative products that trigger feelings of nostalgia, or retro-innovation.

Keywords: Mortality anxiety; State nostalgia; Product innovation; Retro-innovation; Innovation adoption (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:104:y:2019:i:c:p:44-60

DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.06.031

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