What influences consumers’ preferences for strong versus weak sensory stimuli? In this article, we find converging evidence that when the experience of a romantic crush is salient, consumers have an enhanced preference for options that elicit strong sensory stimulation (e.g., loud music, strongly flavored food). We demonstrate this effect across seven studies using a broad array of products and services as stimuli. We further show that these consumers have a heightened motivation to achieve greater sensations from the desired person, but cannot act in a way that directly satisfies this motivation, leading them to be more likely to turn to products and services for the desired sensations. Moreover, we find that the effect is specific to the experience of a romantic crush and cannot be generalized to other interpersonal experiences (e.g., passionate love, stable romantic relationship, unmet sexual desire).
- Interpersonal relationship
- Romantic crush
- Sensory intensity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Economics and Econometrics