Evaluations of a sequence of affective events presented simultaneously: An investigation of the peak-end rule
Article publication date: 24 January 2018
Issue publication date: 29 March 2018
A key finding in the affect integration literature is that for a sequence of events that unfolds sequentially, individuals attend to specific aspects of these events, such as the spread, peak, end, or trend. Due to recent findings of deviations from the peak-end rule, this study closely examines the integration processes of affective events presented sequentially and simultaneously.
Three experimental studies were conducted. Study 1a (financial dashboard) and Study 1b (charity advertisement) examine consumers’ overall evaluation for a sequence of mixed affective events. Using eye trackers, Study 2 examines individuals’ attention to particular affective moments presented sequentially and simultaneously.
The present research provides additional support for the peak–end rule for the sequential presentation of mixed-valence affective events. However, in the simultaneous mode of presentation, the flexibility to view various affective events decreases the disproportionate weights given to specific events, a divergence from the peak–end rule.
Although the tempering effect of simultaneous presentation can be concluded, further studies are required to discern how individuals process these events and develop a predictive rule.
The results of the present study provide clear and actionable directions for application developers and advertising agencies: when communicating information or developing an advertisement, consideration should be given to how each affective event is being communicated.
It is argued that in the simultaneous mode of presentation, the flexibility to view various affective events allows greater shifts in attention that increase the salience of interconnections and thereby decrease the disproportionate weights given to specific events.
Thomas, D., Olsen, D. and Murray, K. (2018), "Evaluations of a sequence of affective events presented simultaneously: An investigation of the peak-end rule", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 52 No. 3/4, pp. 866-881. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-09-2016-0526
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