Evaluating Effects of Environmental and Financial-Savings Messaging on Decision-Making Using Electrodermal Activity

  • Yigit TopogluEmail author
  • Amanda Sargent
  • Jan Watson
  • Hongjun Ye
  • Rajneesh Suri
  • Hasan Ayaz
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 1201)


Understanding how we make decisions has far-reaching practical implications from medicine to marketing as it is a fundamental cognitive construct intertwined in our everyday lives. Even though there is research on the influence of messaging on decision-making behavior, the effects from a psychophysiological perspective have not yet been fully understood. To assess the effects of environmental and financial-savings messaging on consumers’ decision-making behavior, we designed a study where participants made binary choices between different electricity plans before and after seeing a video message. Participants were given either a single environmental or financial-savings message, each also framed either positively or negatively. In this study, we used electrodermal activity (EDA), a wearable and non-invasive sensor that measures the electrical properties of the skin as an indicator of emotional arousal. We compared before and after-message EDA-based arousal levels and decision-making behavior around the messaging. Results show that messaging and framing seem to affect consumers’ emotional processes. Participants’ arousal levels significantly increased during decision-making after watching the message. Moreover, negative-framed messaging was significantly effective when in changing the arousal when two entirely different plans are being decided, while positive messages and financial-savings messages affected participants’ arousals significantly in the decisions between two plans that have the same structure, but different parameters. Moreover, watching an environmental message affected their plan preferences more than financial-savings messaging, regardless of the message’s framing. The findings indicate that EDA can provide supportive information related to consumers’ affective states, which can be valuable in social interaction and marketing research.


Electrodermal activity Messaging Emotional arousal Decision-making Message framing 


  1. 1.
    Mellers, B.A., Schwartz, A., Cooke, A.D.: Judgment and decision making. Ann. Rev. Psychol. 49, 447–477 (1998)
  2. 2.
    Hunink, M.M., Weinstein, M.C., Wittenberg, E., Drummond, M.F., Pliskin, J.S., Wong, J.B., Glasziou, P.P.: Decision Making in Health and Medicine: Integrating Evidence and Values. Cambridge University Press (2014)
  3. 3.
    Trotman, K.T., Tan, H.C., Ang, N.: Fifty-year overview of judgment and decision-making research in accounting. Account. Finance 51, 278–360 (2011)
  4. 4.
    Wedding, D., Faust, D.: Clinical judgment and decision making in neuropsychology. Arch. Clin. Neuropsychol. 4, 233–265 (1989)
  5. 5.
    Mihart, C.: Impact of integrated marketing communication on consumer behaviour: effects on consumer decision-making process. Int. J. Mark. Stud. 4, 121 (2012)
  6. 6.
    Pelletier, L.G., Sharp, E.: Persuasive communication and proenvironmental behaviours: How message tailoring and message framing can improve the integration of behaviours through self-determined motivation. Can. Psychol./Psychol. Can. 49, 210 (2008)
  7. 7.
    Banks, S.M., Salovey, P., Greener, S., Rothman, A.J., Moyer, A., Beauvais, J., Epel, E.: The effects of message framing on mammography utilization. Health Psychol. 14, 178 (1995)
  8. 8.
    Chang, H., Zhang, L., Xie, G.-X.: Message framing in green advertising: the effect of construal level and consumer environmental concern. Int. J. Advertising 34, 158–176 (2015)
  9. 9.
    Chang, C.T., Lee, Y.K.: Framing charity advertising: influences of message framing, image valence, and temporal framing on a charitable appeal 1. J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 39, 2910–2935 (2009)
  10. 10.
    Rothman, A.J., Salovey, P.: Shaping perceptions to motivate healthy behavior: the role of message framing. Psychol. Bull. 121, 3 (1997)
  11. 11.
    Boucsein, W.: Electrodermal Activity, 2nd edn. Springer Science + Business Media, New York (2012)
  12. 12.
    Critchley, H.D.: Electrodermal responses: what happens in the brain. Neuroscientist 8, 132–142 (2002)
  13. 13.
    Dawson, M.E., Schell, A.M., Filion, D.L.: The electrodermal system (2017)
  14. 14.
    Sharma, M., Kacker, S., Sharma, M.: A brief introduction and review on galvanic skin response (2016)
  15. 15.
    Braithwaite, J.J., Watson, D.G., Jones, R., Rowe, M.: A guide for analysing electrodermal activity (EDA) & skin conductance responses (SCRs) for psychological experiments. Psychophysiology 49, 1017–1034 (2013)
  16. 16.
    Figner, B., Murphy, R.O.: Using skin conductance in judgment and decision making research. In: A Handbook of Process Tracing Methods for Decision Research, pp. 163–184 (2011)
  17. 17.
    Holper, L., Wolf, M., Tobler, P.N.: Comparison of functional near-infrared spectroscopy and electrodermal activity in assessing objective versus subjective risk during risky financial decisions. Neuroimage 84, 833–842 (2014)
  18. 18.
    Ayaz, H., Dehais, F.: Neuroergonomics: the brain at work and in everyday life (2019)
  19. 19.
    Topoglu, Y., Watson, J., Suri, R., Ayaz, H.: Electrodermal activity in ambulatory settings: a narrative review of literature. In: International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics, pp. 91–102. Springer (2019)
  20. 20.
    Sargent, A., Watson, J., Topoglu, Y., Ye, H., Zhong, W., Ayaz, H., Suri, R.: Reliability of Consumer Choices for Conflicting Price Promotions, pp. 103–109. Springer International Publishing (2020)
  21. 21.
    Benedek, M., Kaernbach, C.: A continuous measure of phasic electrodermal activity. J. Neurosci. Methods 190, 80–91 (2010)
  22. 22.
    Benedek, M., Kaernbach, C.: Decomposition of skin conductance data by means of nonnegative deconvolution. Psychophysiology 47, 647–658 (2010)

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yigit Topoglu
    • 1
    • 7
    Email author
  • Amanda Sargent
    • 1
  • Jan Watson
    • 1
  • Hongjun Ye
    • 2
  • Rajneesh Suri
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hasan Ayaz
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health SystemsDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.LeBow College of BusinessDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Solutions InstituteDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychology, College of Arts and SciencesDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Family and Community Health, School of NursingUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.Center for Injury Research and PreventionChildren’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  7. 7.Department of Family and Community HealthUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations