The Effect Of Novelty On Subsequent Choice And Preferences
This manuscript examines the effect of a novel experience on subsequent choice and preferences. Chapter 1 reviews neuroimaging and behavioral evidence suggesting that novelty activates dopaminergic brain areas involved in reward processing and serves as a reward-predicting cue, enhancing responses to the rewarding aspects of stimuli and motivating exploration in search of potentially valuable outcomes. Based on this evidence, it is proposed that people will be more likely to explore, following a novel experience, and that in a consumer context this exploratory tendency will result in choice of a broader and more varied set of options from an assortment of products. Results from three experiments support these hypotheses. Study 1 showed that participants who had seen novel (vs. familiarized) images chose a greater diversity of snacks in a subsequent task and rated those snacks as more appealing. Study 2 conceptually replicated these effects in the context of a series of choices and also showed, consistently with theory and predictions, that the effect of novelty on subsequent variety seeking is observed only when the choice options are potentially rewarding. Study 3 demonstrated that exposure to novelty improves evaluations and promotes exploration among less typical, but still enjoyable, members of a product category, suggesting that novelty may promote other forms of consumer exploratory behavior such as innovativeness. Chapter 2 provides a comprehensive review of the neuroscience literature on reward processing. It outlines the various components of reward processing, such as pleasure, learning, and motivation, and provides a critical analysis of the existing hypotheses about the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in these processes and the existence of dedicated reward-processing networks in the brain. Chapter 3 provides a critical overview of ERP and fMRI evidence for the influence of positive affect on various cognitive processes, such as memory, cognitive flexibility, and creative problem solving, and the mediating role of dopamine in these processes. The neuroimaging data is interpreted in the context of findings from behavioral studies; consistencies and discrepancies between the neuroimaging and the behavioral data are discussed.
dissertation or thesis