The Influence Of Atmospherics In Consumer Research Data Collection

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Beverly Wright
Margy P. Conchar
Angela M. Ianuzzi


Market research, response quality, atmospherics, affect shifts, data collection, structural equations


This study investigates the effects of ambient atmosphere on market research survey response quality, following approaches in the retail atmospherics literature.  Participants completed a survey task and reported their affect states in a between subjects factorial experiment which manipulated ambient music, lighting and aroma conditions. Structural equation methods were used to test for effects of atmospheric factors on response quality and respondent affect. Findings suggest that ambient atmosphere may contribute to cognitive enrichment up to a point where it becomes distracting. At that point, ambient cues appear to interfere with cognitive processing. Survey response quality may be compromised through reduced positive affect, increased fatigue, or boredom, but the influence mechanism is different between males and females. The importance of stimulus manipulations is stressed and the effects of specific stimulus are provided to help researchers understand the impact toward response quality. Marketing researchers from both the academic and managerial community may be able to improve survey response quality by managing environmental conditions to enhance survey experience.


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