This article extends the idea that priming can influence preferences by making selected attributes focal. Our on-line experiments manipulate the background pictures and colors of a Web page, affecting consumer product choice. We demonstrate that these effects occur for both experts and novices, albeit by different mechanisms. For novices, priming drives differences in external search that, in turn, drive differences in choice. For experts, we observe differences in choice that are not mediated by changes in external search. These findings confirmed that on-line atmospherics in electronic environments could have a significant influence on consumer choice.
Journal of Consumer Researchvol.
29, (January 01, 2002):