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Poster D148

Neural Evidence of How Shipping Fees Impact Purchasing Decisions

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Youngju Lee1 (, Yoonsang Lee2, Ji-Won Chun3, Dongha Lee1; 1Cognitive Science Research Group, Korea Brain Research Institute, Daegu, Republic of Korea, 2School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, United States of America, 3Department of Medical Informatics, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea

The surge in online shopping has heightened consumers’ frustrations regarding shipping fees. Understanding the influence of shipping fees on purchasing decisions is crucial, given that most consumers are reluctant to pay additional charges. However, research on how neural correlates represent cognitive and emotional processes in this context is limited. To address this gap, we conducted an fMRI experiment to explore the association between various combinations of shipping fees and purchasing decisions. In total, 40 healthy participants (22 males and 18 females, mean age = 23.4, SD = 2.8) performed a shopping task. During scanning, participants indicated their intent to purchase a pair of shoes with various price combinations, maintaining constant total prices ($37) while varying shipping fees (zero, $1.5, $3, $4.5, and $6). Group analysis revealed significant positive activation in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), inferior parietal lobe (IPL), and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC) under shipping-free conditions compared to conditions with lower shipping fees ($1.5 and $3). Additionally, the motor cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) showed positive activation under shipping-free conditions compared to those with higher shipping fees ($4.5 and $6). Behavioral results showed an overall decrease in purchasing intentions as shipping fees increased. These findings indicate a general preference for free shipping, even when total prices are equivalent. Specifically, participants appear to perceive shipping-free options as more rewarding than those with low shipping fees; however, they seem to readily purchase the free shipping options without engaging in extensive evaluation compared to those with high fees.

Topic Area: THINKING: Decision making


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