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The Joint Influence of Online Rating and Product Price on Purchase Decision: An EEG Study

Authors Sun L, Zhao Y, Ling B

Received 13 November 2019

Accepted for publication 31 January 2020

Published 24 March 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 291—301


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Mei-chun Cheung

Lijun Sun,1 Yin Zhao,2 Bin Ling3

1CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology/Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 2Furnishing and Industrial Design School, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China; 3School of Business, Hohai University, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Bin Ling Room 1103, Boxue Building, Focheng West Road, Nanjing City, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86-025-6851 4352

Background: Consumers had to encounter and consider product-oriented and review-oriented cues before making an online purchasing decision. It was important to resolve how these cues influenced consumers’ online purchasing decision. We also knew little about how the human brain processed these cues simultaneously, and which cue would occupy a dominant position in neural activity. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the neural correlates of online shopping decisions and how online rating and product price jointly influenced such purchase decisions.
Research Method: Eighteen undergraduates were recruited to participate in this research. Each participant was exposed to all four experimental conditions combining 2 (product price: high vs. low) × 2 (online rating: positive vs. negative) with a total of 192 trials. They were required to rate the degree of willingness-to-pay. EEG data were obtained with 64 electrodes placed on the Easy Cap according to the International 10– 20 system. We conducted both the event-related potentials analysis and the time-frequency analysis for the EEG data.
Results: The behavioral findings indicated that products with positive rating and low price increased the willingness-to-pay. The EEG results showed that larger late positive potentials were elicited by products with low price compared with high price under positive rating condition, but not under negative rating condition, reflecting the modulated effect of online rating on the emotional arousal elicited by product price. Furthermore, we found larger alpha event related desynchronization elicited by products with positive rating compared with negative rating, indicating that more cognitive resources were allocated for products with a positive rating.
Conclusion: Combined with behavioral and EEG analysis, our results emphasized the more important position of product rating compared with price. The findings deepened the understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying the online shopping decision process. More attention should be paid to online ratings on the webpage of the electronic store, because negative ratings made a product less appealing for prospective consumers regardless of price. Thus, the owners should build good reputations for their online products, which were fundamental to the consumers’ online purchasing decisions.

Keywords: online rating, product price, neural mechanism, LPP, alpha-ERD

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