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Pleasurable Surprises: A Cross-Cultural Study of Consumer Responses to Unexpected Incentives

  • Mathematics


Consumer reactions to a surprising event are generally stronger than those to an identical but unexpected event. But the experience of surprise differs across cultures. In this article, we examine differences between East Asian and Western emotional reactions to unexpected incentives. When given an unexpected gift, East Asians report less surprise and less pleasure than Westerners. East Asians' dampened pleasure is explained by their motivation to maintain balance and emotional control, which leads to a reappraisal of perceived likelihood. However, if the unexpected gift is attributed to good luck, which is a desirable form of the unexpected, East Asians experience even greater pleasure than Westerners. (c) 2009 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..

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