An arousal-based explanation of affect dynamics

Li Yan, Matthew Tingchi Liu, Xiaoyun Chen, Guicheng Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of pre-existing mood valence, mood arousal and ad-evoked arousal on response to television and print advertising. It combined the arousal-as-information and arousal regulation approaches into a single arousal congruence theory. It sought an extended application of arousal congruence theory in the persuasion domain with several novel findings.
Design/methodology/approach – Four experiments were conducted to test the hypotheses. Analysis of variance, multivariate analysis of variance and pairwise comparison were used for data analysis.
Findings – Consumer judgment is a joint function of mood valence, mood arousal and ad-evoked arousal. Positive mood does not always generate more positive evaluations and vice versa. Ad-evoked arousal can more strongly influence consumers’ judgments when they are in a negative rather than a positive mood. Furthermore, consumers in a positive mood rate a target more favorably when the ad-evoked arousal level is congruent with their current arousal state, while those in a negative mood rate a target more favorably when the ad-evoked arousal level is incongruent with their current state of arousal. Arousal polarization intensifies such congruence (and incongruence) effects.
Practical implications – The findings reveal a mood-lifting opportunity based on ad-evoked arousal. This has implications for the design of advertisements, promotional materials, marketing campaigns and retailing environments.
Originality/value – This paper’s findings highlight unexpected effects of stimulus-evoked arousal in persuasion when consumers are exposed to multiple emotional cues from the environment. The paper demonstrates the utility of an integrated model, explaining the relative importance of valence and arousal in influencing consumer judgments. It has been the first to examine arousal congruence, arousal polarization and arousal regulation mechanisms jointly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1159-1184
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number7/8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Marketing
  • Evaluation
  • Advertising
  • Empirical study

Cite this