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The Effects of Heightened Physiological Needs on Perception of Psychological Connectedness

Xiuping Li and Meng Zhang

Journal of Consumer Research, 2014, vol. 41, issue 4, 1078-1088

Abstract: In three sets of experiments, we propose and find a cognitive shift caused by heightened physiological states such as sexual desire and hunger. In particular, it was found that exposure to images of sexy women decreases male consumers' perception of being connected to others. A similar effect was demonstrated in a study when participants were feeling hungry. Such an effect of physiological need on social perception is profound, irrespective of whether the target "other" is an acquaintance, a best friend, an unknown person, or even the future self. We also test the downstream behavioral consequences of this reduced psychological connectedness (e.g., less resource allocation and less helping).

Date: 2014
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