Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #537
Consumer Behavior Analysis: Health, Technology and Behavior Science
Monday, May 27, 2019
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Ballroom Level, Toronto
Area: OBM/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Valdimar Sigurdsson (Reykjavik University)
Discussant: Gordon R. Foxall (Cardiff University; University of Reykjavik)

Consumer behavior analysis draws on behavior analysis, behavioral ecology, behavioral economics, and marketing science to further enhance the understanding of all aspects of consumption. New technologies such as in-store analytics, Internet-of-Things (IoT), customer feedback software tools, and targeted, measurable, and interactive digital media are not only changing the face of the retail landscape, but they also provide an untapped opportunity for health promotion. It is therefore safe to conclude that the world is experiencing a new emphasis on objectivity and interventions through technological innovations, analytics, and the proliferation of behavioral data. This “digital revolution” has strengthened the explanations relying on the environment-behavior interactions via technology and experimentation. In this symposium, we will discuss recent theoretical developments and empirical analyses related to how consumers adapt to a highly competitive economic environment; the grocery store. The symposium starts with a paper on connecting consumer laboratory conjoint analysis and in-store experiments for healthy food promotion. The second paper continues within the same theme of consumer/in-store studies by showcasing research combining retail analytics and consumer environmental rating. The third study goes back to the behavioral laboratory and investigates the connection between healthy food labels and consumer food choices using a within-subject experimental design. The symposium concludes with a novel study introducing healthy food innovation and focuses on how Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology influences healthy choice in the grocery setting.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): Consumer behavior, Healthy behavior, Healthy interventions, Technology

Crowning the Customer: Consumer Laboratory and In-Store Experiments for Healthy Food Promotion

(Applied Research)
VALDIMAR SIGURDSSON (Reykjavik University), Nils Magne Larsen (UiT-The Artic University of Norway), Joseph Gallogly (Reykjavik University), Vishnu Menon (Massey University; Reykjavik University), Asle Fagerstrøm (Kristiania University College )

“When a customer enters my store, forget me. He is king,” said John Wanamaker, a merchant and a pioneer in marketing. However compelling that slogan was, in truth the money in retail mostly resides in trade and promotional allowances from brand suppliers. As opposed to this situation, the current paper strives to arrange the environmental conditions serving the needs of the consumer. This is done by formulating the consumer problem with the aid of a few relevant and actionable attributes. Example of these are prices, consumer ratings, brand recommendations and placements, tested both in the consumer laboratory, as well as in the store so that people can make better decisions for their long-term well-being (longer, later rewards). The paper presents the methodology and findings from a few conjoint studies and in-store experiments aimed at health promotion. Of particular interest is the link between these two approaches to behavior science – that is, trying to increase the correlation between findings from hypothetical conjoint studies and in-store experiments. In this regard, we manipulate similar stimuli on both venues with the aim of increasing the predictive validity of conjoint studies.


What Gets Measured Gets Managed: Retail Analytics, Environmental Rating, and In-Store Experiments for Healthy Food Promotion

(Applied Research)
Nils Larsen (UiT-The Artic University of Norway), VALDIMAR SIGURDSSON (Reykjavik University), Jørgen Breivik (UiT-The Artic University of Norway)

Some scholars have described current consumer environments as obesogenic in nature and defined it as the sum of influences that the surroundings, opportunities, or condition of life have on promoting unhealthy consumption (Lake and Townshend, 2006). Wansink (2016) also refers to the hospitable environment, and the mindless buying and eating and tries to empower consumers by offering them rating scales for different food environments. The current research applies such environmental operationalization from the standpoint of one of the founders of modern management, Peter Drucker, famous for his quote “what gets measured gets managed.” The current research used rating scales and the recent advancements in in-store tracking technologies and examined 635 shopping trips derived from a major retail chain, based on a systematic sampling approach. The behavior analysis explored the buying behavior in different areas of the store (e.g., the fruit and vegetable section), from the healthiest to the unhealthiest - as judged by a consumer panel using systematic rating scales. From this we generated a health index (where shopping the healthiest area received the highest score etc.) and then we modelled this index as a function of several physical (e.g., time of day, week and month) and social stimuli (e.g., conversations and phone calls in the store) present to the consumer at the point of purchase, as well as we studied the effects of consumer effort (e.g., number of meters walked and time in the store) and rule-governance (presence of a shopping list). The contribution includes shedding a light on previously undetected and measured in-store behavior, and its functional relationship. This is important from the standpoint of further in-store experimentation, as well as it creates the possibility for some new and important stimuli for healthy food promotion and aid for self-control – health index for stores and store areas.


Consumer Choice of Healthy Food: Heuristic Effects of Healthy Food Labels

(Applied Research)
ASLE FAGERSTRØM (Kristiania University College), Erik Arntzen (Oslo Metropolitan University), Philip Richartz (University of South-Eastern Norway), Valdimar Sigurdsson (Reykjavik University)

A within-subject experiment design aimed to identify whether participants rely on heuristics when making a series of choices of healthy food. Determining whether healthy food labels bias their choice under these conditions was of particular interest. Results (n=30) showed that participants tend to develop a heuristic in a series of healthy food choices. For some participants, healthy food labels do to some extent influenced them into making biased choices. These results reveal that consumers do find comparing healthiness of products tedious and rely on heuristics when making a choice. However, the use of healthy food labels specifically as a heuristic cue is minimal when other objective cues are available. Policymakers should attempt to marketing healthy food labels to increase trust and improve its effectiveness as a health cue, eliminating the consumer’s need for nutrition comparisons between products.

The Relative Impact of Internet of Things Mediated Stimuli on Healthy Food Choice
(Applied Research)
VISHNU MENON (Massey University; Reykjavik University), Niklas Eriksson (Arcada University of Applied Sciences), Asle Fagerstrøm (Kristiania University College), Valdimar Sigurdsson (Reykjavik University)
Abstract: Internet of Things (IoT) presents an opportunity for retailers to develop an environment that makes physical things such as mobile phone, shopping basket, store shelves, digital display, and even the product itself smart, allowing real-time interaction with customers. This study aims to expand understanding of how IoT can influence healthy choice in the grocery choice situation. To investigate the impact of IoT mediated stimuli, we arranged a conjoint experiment in which participants purchased a healthier frozen pizza in a grocery store using a smartphone app. Findings from the study will be discussed in relation to how IoT mediated stimuli can influence consumers’ healthy food choice. This study contributes both to researchers and managers who want to understand how IoT technology influence consumers’ in the grocery choice situation.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh