Research links sexual imagery and consumer impatience

July 26, 2012

How do sexual cues affect consumer behavior? New research from USC Marshall School of Business Assistant Professor of Marketing Kyu Kim and Gal Zauberman, associate professor of marketing at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, reveals the reasons why sexual cues cause us to be impatient and can affect monetary decisions.

Their paper, "Can Victoria's Secret Change the Future: A Subjective Account of Sexual Cue Effects on Impatience," departs from earlier theories indicating that impatience in response to sexual cues is solely an outcome of escalated desire for immediate gratification. Kim and Zauberman hold that the put into play by sexual cues are more complicated; arousal, the researchers contend, actually affects our perception of time.

For example, in one of five studies conducted, male subjects were presented with sexually charged imagery. Afterwards, the subjects were asked to judge whether three and six-month time frames were "very short" or "very long" distances away from the present time. Those who had been exposed to individuals to whom they were attracted, reported the three and six-month time frames to be further into the future than others in the control group, according to the study.

In another study, the researchers presented 116 males with images from an online Victoria's Secret catalog and gauged their response to receiving one of two fictitious Amazon.com promotions: a gift certificate available that day or one available three months from now. They asked the subjects the dollar value that would compensate for having to wait. Those exposed to sexually charged imagery (versus those in a control group exposed to nature images) were found to be more impatient and expressed that future discounts would have to be steeper to compensate for the time delay.

Sex and Promotion:

The research, published in the : General, has implications for marketers. For those exposed to sexually charged imagery, future rewards were even less appealing than those with more immediate promotions. Marketers, therefore, who invoke sexual imagery to sell products, must make sure promotions are offered in a more immediate time frame. Consumers with sex on the brain, might be more inclined to spend money more quickly.

Explore further: Magazine trends study finds increase in advertisements using sex

Related Stories

Magazine trends study finds increase in advertisements using sex

June 5, 2012
Sex sells, or at least that is what advertisers hope. A recent study from the University of Georgia looked at sexual ads appearing in magazines over 30 years and found that the numbers are up.

Sexual satisfaction in women increases with age

January 3, 2012
A new study of sexually active older women has found that sexual satisfaction in women increases with age and those not engaging in sex are satisfied with their sex lives. A majority of study participants report frequent ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find common psychological traits in group of Italians aged 90 to 101

December 12, 2017
In remote Italian villages nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and mountains lives a group of several hundred citizens over the age of 90. Researchers at the University of Rome La Sapienza and University of California San ...

New therapy can help schizophrenia sufferers re-engage socially

December 11, 2017
A new therapy aimed at helping young people suffering from schizophrenia to reconnect and engage with the world around them has had promising results, according to a new University of Sussex-led study.

Certain books can increase infant learning during shared reading, study shows

December 11, 2017
Parents and pediatricians know that reading to infants is a good thing, but new research shows reading books that clearly name and label people and objects is even better.

Twitter can reveal our shared mood

December 11, 2017
In the largest study of its kind, researchers from the University of Bristol have analysed mood indicators in text from 800 million anonymous messages posted on Twitter. These tweets were found to reflect strong patterns ...

Infant brain responses predict reading speed in secondary school

December 11, 2017
A study conducted at the Department of Psychology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland and Jyväskylä Centre for Interdisciplinary Brain Research (CIBR) has found that the brain responses of infants with an inherited ...

Many different types of anxiety and depression exist, new study finds

December 8, 2017
Five new categories of mental illness that cut across the current more broad diagnoses of anxiety and depression have been identified by researchers in a Stanford-led study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.