Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Contrasted against the popular belief that consumers make purely rational decisions, purchasing decisions are rapid, subconscious, and emotional decisions. In order to understand a consumer’s purchasing decisions, we suggest finding methods beyond focus groups, which typify this type of research, to measure and interpret consumer reactions to various packaging designs. In this paper, we examine electrodermal activity, a measure of emotional arousal, and eye tracking in the context of a realistic shopping environment as possible measures to support insight into customer preference of packaging. We hypothesized that presenting consumers with an experience more closely related to actual shopping would encourage more natural selections. Further, that the combination of eye tracking and physiological measures with self-report would support a more holistic understanding of decision-making. Although our eye-tracking hypothesis was supported in the studies conducted, a revision of our approach to physiological measurement is necessary to fully understand the validity of electrodermal activity for in-context experiments. We end by presenting suggestions for future research in the field of consumer emotions, highlighting the struggles and successes of measuring one’s subconscious motives.