Impulse Buying And Cognitive Dissonance

The aim of this academic paper was to investigate students who shopped during their spring break, and how their impulse buying linked to their cognitive dissonance.

In this paper the investigators used quantitate analysis of the levels of impulsiveness and cognitive dissonance in college students who participated in shopping trips whilst on their spring break. The investigators used students from a variety of different groups and backgrounds to get a more representative sample population. This included using different ethnic groups, and including students who had children and who were married.

However, the majority of the students were female and were US citizens, so this was not representative of the entire US student population. The investigators calculated the cognitive dissonance of the students by using Sweeney’s 22 item scale. This is a set of statements about the item which someone has just purchased e.g. is it well made?, and the subject has to show which statements they agree with. The researchers also calculated the impulsiveness trait of the students by using an adjusted form of Rock and Fisher’s Likert scale.

This is a five/seven-point scale which the subject uses to show the degree to which they agree/disagree with a particular statement. They compared the cognitive dissonances levels students after making a planned purchase against after making an impulse purchase.

The findings of this investigation showed that after buying a pre-planned product, the students’ level of cognitive dissonance was higher than after buying a product impulsively. The findings also showed that certain individuals experienced greater amounts of cognitive dissonance than others, and that students who showed a high degree of impulsiveness showed a lower level of cognitive dissonance.

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There are two main conclusions from this investigation. The first is that the levels of cognitive dissonance in students who made impulse purchases was lower than in those who made planned purchases. The second is that when making an impulse purchase, students who did not normally make these types of purchases showed higher levels of cognitive dissonance, than students who made these purchases frequently.

There were many different relationships that the investigators would have liked to explore. One of these included testing the link between the level of impulse buying when students were in a group, and when they were alone. Another was investigating the relationship between the tendency to impulse buy, and when the person believes that the outcomes of their actions depend on events outside their control. A third link that the investigators did not explore was between the length of time that a student experiences cognitive dissonance for, and their level of impulsiveness. The investigators also wanted to look into cases where students who are not very impulsive, carry out impulsive purchases, and where very impulsive students carry out planned purchases. The final idea that they wanted to investigate was the prospect that people with very strict morals use impulse buying to prevent themselves from feeling any self-satisfaction from a purchases that has planning and thought put into it. 


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Impulse Buying And Cognitive Dissonance. (2021, Dec 21). Retrieved from

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