Embodied myopia

Bram Van den Bergh, Julien Schmitt, Luk Warlop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One field study and five experiments show that seemingly irrelevant bodily actions influence consumer behavior. These studies demonstrate that arm flexion (in which the motor action is directed toward the self) versus arm extension (in which the motor action is directed away from the self) influences purchase behavior, product preferences, and economic decisions. More specifically, arm flexion increases the likelihood of purchasing vice products (Study 1a), leads to a preference for vices over virtues (Studies 1b and 2a), and leads to preference for smaller, sooner over larger, later monetary rewards (Studies 2b, 3, and 4). The authors argue that arm flexion induces present-biased preferences through activation of approach motivation. The effect of bodily actions on present-biased preferences is regulated by the behavioral approach system (Studies 3 and 4) and relies on the learned association between arm flexion and activation of this approach system (Study 4). The authors discuss implications for Intertemporal decision making, embodied cognition, and marketing practice. © 2011, American Marketing Association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1033-1044
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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