Joan Meyers-Levy, Rui Zhu, Lan Jiang; Context Effects from Bodily Sensations: Examining Bodily Sensations Induced by Flooring and the Moderating Role of Product Viewing Distance. J Consum Res 2010; 37 (1): 1-14. doi: 10.1086/649028
When consumers shop, the flooring underfoot can prompt bodily sensations—a sense of comfort from soft carpeting or fatigue from hard tile flooring. Like moods, such bodily sensations may foster context effects on the products shoppers observe. However, whereas moods prompt only assimilation effects, we demonstrate that consumers’ bodily sensations can produce either assimilation, contrast, or no context effects. Further, consumers’ viewing distance from a product can determine the direction of such effects. Evidence attests that these effects are (a) prompted by bodily sensations, not conceptual knowledge, (b) rather limited in scope, and (c) reversible in direction under certain circumstances.