Proud powerful, grateful powerless: the interactive effect of power and emotion on gift giving Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Purpose Drawing upon the evolutionary psychology perspective, the current research aims to investigate the conditions under which power (high vs low) and emotion (pride vs gratitude) can influence consumers to purchase products for others via two fundamental motives (the signaling and affiliative motives). Design/methodology/approach Three experiments are conducted. Study 1 demonstrates that consumers with high (low) power are more likely to choose a wine promoted with pride (gratitude) appeals. Study 2 shows that consumers in the high- (low-) power condition report a higher willingness to pay for a wine promoted with pride (gratitude) appeals. Study 3 replicates the findings of Study 2 using a different product advertisement (chocolate bars). Findings This study provides concrete empirical evidence that powerful consumers experiencing pride will engage in gift giving because of an increased signaling motive. In contrast, powerless consumers experiencing gratitude will engage in gift giving because of an increased affiliative motive. Research limitations/implications This study explores the context of gift giving using wine and chocolate bars as the products. It would thus be of interest to examine and extend the effects in motivating other prosocial behaviors such as donating and volunteering. Practical implications The findings suggest how different states of power can be temporarily and purposively triggered and matched with the desired emotional appeals within adverting messages to increase persuasion. Originality/value This study illustrates a novel mechanism for gift giving from the evolutionary psychology perspective by showing that gift giving can be motivated by two distinct pathways – affiliative and signaling motives. Further, it tests how the interactive effects of power (high vs low) and emotion (pride vs gratitude) can activate such motives.

publication date

  • 2020

has subject area