The present research investigates the roles of both the individual reaction to environmental stimuli and personality characteristics in consumers’ pursuit of hedonic and/or utilitarian shopping values. The individual reaction to environmental stimuli is operationalized by two closely related measures: the optimal stimulation level (OSL), concerning the level of external stimulation with which an individual feels comfortable, and the arousability, concerning the rate with which the internal stimulation (i.e., the arousal) level of an individual changes in response to a sudden increase (or decrease) in the environmental stimulation. Results from an experimental study showed, firstly, that these two constructs (OSL and arousability) are positively correlated with those personality traits (i.e., Agreeableness and Openness to Experience, according to the Big Five-Factor model, cf. Digman, 1990) mostly associated to the hedonic shopping value. Secondly, drawing on the Reversal Theory (Apter, 1989), results showed that paratelic individuals (i.e., those who are interested in the shopping activity itself) have higher OSL and arousability than telic individuals (those who are interested in shopping outcomes, such as the purchase of specific products). These motivational states, in turn, are differently related to the two shopping values (i.e., hedonic vs. utilitarian). Theoretical and practical implications for marketing are discussed.
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