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Application of an environmental psychology model to in-store buying behaviour

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Although the influence of the environment on behaviour has long been acknowledged by many environmental psychologists, not many studies have been done in a retailing context, and so far no study can provide a framework to determine how environmental cues might impact on store patronage. The main objective of this study is to explore the relationship between environment and human behaviour in a retailing context by adopting the Mehrabian Russell Model (M-R Model) so as to test the predictability and applicability of the model through measurement of the information load, the emotional states induced and the approach-avoidance behaviour of shoppers in two types of CD stores in Hong Kong. The findings show that in-store environment stimuli (expressed in terms of information rate) are positively related to the level of pleasure experienced in the store. In turn, environment-induced emotional states in the store are positively related to in-store shopping behaviour. Therefore, shopping behaviour favourable to retailers can be induced through manipulation of the store's atmospheric elements. The findings show that the in-store environment is dynamic in nature and the model is not as simple as that predicted by Mehrabian and Russell in a one-way direction. In-store behaviour also has positive effects on the pleasure felt in the store and the in-store rating of environmental stimuli.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 1997

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