A new study has claimed that emotions like fear and heightened romance have great impact on the way people make decisions.
According to Vladas Griskevicius, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, everyday people are confronted with innumerable pieces of information and hundreds of decisions.
Unsurprisingly, people often process each piece of information deeply, instead relying on quick mental shortcuts to guide their behaviors.
In the forthcoming paper "Fear and Loving in Las Vegas: Evolution, Emotion, and Persuasion," the research team found that the emotion people are currently feeling has a strong effect on whether we decide to conform or to go against the grain.
"Being afraid especially leads people to go along with the crowd, activating a 'safety-in-numbers' psychology," said Griskevicius.
"A feeling of lust, however, motivates people to go it alone, activating a desire to be seen as unique. Feeling scared or amorous can greatly change the way people make decisions," the expert added.
To reach the conclusion, researchers had people watch a short clip from a frightening or a romantic film. Afterward, people viewed ads for Las Vegas that contained commonly used persuasive appeals either rooted in conformity ("over a million sold") or rooted in uniqueness ("stand out from the crowd").
After watching a scary film, people were especially persuaded by conformity-based appeals that presented the trip as a popular option. In contrast, after people watched a romantic film clip, they were not only less persuaded by the same conformity-based appeal, but such appeals were counter-persuasive.
The romantically minded individuals especially did not want to visit Las Vegas if they knew that many others are already going.
Instead, people in a romantic state were much more persuaded by appeals that presented the trip as a unique, unusual, or exotic choice that others might not make.