Impact of sexual stimuli on men’s purchase intentions toward discounted conspicuous goods

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Chunhui Huo
Shaofeng Yuan
Cite this article:  Huo, C., & Yuan, S. (2017). Impact of sexual stimuli on men’s purchase intentions toward discounted conspicuous goods. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 45(2), 253-268.


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In this research we examined whether or not when men are exposed to sexual stimuli (e.g., images of sexually attractive women) this negatively affects their purchase intention for conspicuous goods being offered at a discounted price. We conducted 3 experiments, with Chinese men (282 in total), and found that sexual stimuli can activate male mating goals, prompting the men in our study to care more about the presentation of their mating value; thus, they preferred nondiscounted conspicuous goods to discounted ones. The negative effect of sexual stimuli on men’s purchase intentions toward discounted conspicuous goods was greater for men who tended to associate discounts with low status, cheapness, and stinginess (i.e., strong negative impression association) than for those with a weak negative impression association. These findings identify the boundary conditions of a trade-off for men between economic benefits and signaling values for discounted conspicuous goods.

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