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The influence of physical activity on information: processing in consumer decision making

Zimmermann, Laura (2017) The influence of physical activity on information: processing in consumer decision making. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.plu9tz73mqwm


When people engage in physical activity they often report that it alters the way they think and feel. These lay beliefs are generally supported by research on the cognitive benefits of physical activity. But despite the evidence on benefits of physical activity for cognition, little research has investigated whether physical activity has any effect on judgment and decision making, particularly in unrelated domains such as consumer decision making. This thesis presents seven empirical studies which demonstrate that both regular and single bouts of physical activity influence consumers’ product judgments and decision making. Specifically, the key results indicate that physical activity leads decision makers to weigh different product information more appropriately. The results were robust to the inclusion of various control variables. In the first part of this thesis, five studies investigate the effect of physical activity on decision makers’ ability to rely on relevant versus irrelevant information. Past research has shown that when faced with irrelevant product information, consumers often find it difficult to ignore the irrelevant information, and typically dilute their judgments (i.e. their judgments are less extreme). In contrast, the results of this research show that regular physical activity aids people’s ability to focus on relevant information and ignore irrelevant information in product judgments. In the second part of this thesis, three further studies indicate that physical activity influences attribute weighting in consumer decisions that require trade-offs between desirability and feasibility attributes. Decision makers tend to place a lot of emphasis on the desirability attributes, often at the expense of feasibility attributes. The findings of this research indicate that physical activity leads consumers to not overly focus on desirability, and consider feasibility attributes more in choices that require trade-offs between them. The findings have important implications for marketing and public policy since they extend the benefits of physical activity to a novel domain – information processing in consumer decision making.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Laura Zimmermann
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Chakravarti, Amitav

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