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Online Buying Stimulus by Eric Menendez, English 448 Writing Intern

May 1, 2017

Studies show that customers consider weight, roughness and softness when deciding which product to buy. But what do they do when they shop online? Enter Dana Kang, a high school junior from South Korea who has studied how a consumer's inability to physically touch a product impacts his or her decision to buy. For a recent psychology convention, her team's research topic focused on the effects of tactile stimulation on customer evaluation. This annual convention, the Great Plains Students' Psychology Convention, was hosted by the FHSU Department of Psychology and was held in the Memorial Union at FHSU.

Kang had thought about the relationship between tactile stimulation and decision-making, and she was interested in how that psychological perception could be measured in a scientific way. "By testing the experiment, the most fascinating point was that our research will contribute to future research and have implications for our society," Kang says.

While the team did not find many differences between old and new findings, they did find a constant development. They have added experimental goods to prove whether a tactical stimulation affects one's decision to buy. They are still in the process of the experiment but have noted how the heavier the weight of a product, the higher its perceived durability. In addition, they also discuss how difficult online marketing is for consumers, since they are unable to touch or feel the objects they buy.

Kang's main role on the team was conducting background research, compiling the product evaluation form for participants and preparing for the team's presentation. She was on a team with two graduate students. The graduate students guided Kang's work, while they were responsible for deriving the results. During her work on this topic, Kang realized that even the tiniest specific factor is able to yield results. As part of their presentation, her team considered how participants held the object, the variety of products that relate to college students, and the time frame for the experiment. "Since this is my first research project, everything seemed unique and professional," Kang says. She considered her work with psychology professor Dr. April Park to be quite pleasant, as Park encouraged her to keep up with the project. "If I have a chance to continue having research with her, I would love to do that," Kang says.

Kang was quite happy that her team's research managed to do so well. "It was really rewarding and thrilling that our team's invested time and effort was proved by accomplishing 2nd place." From her research with Dr. Park and the two graduate students, she learned to conduct an experiment, write a research paper and prepare a presentation. She would love to do all that again, but maybe next time on an individual project.

Regarding the KAMS program, Kang notes how rewarding it is that high schoolers are able to experience college life in advance. She was able to engage in opportunities that she would not have been able to encounter in high school and says, "As an international student, living in the same dormitory and socializing with people from different countries was a blessing." She notes that the college classes might be challenging for newcomers, but the satisfaction of accomplishing high goals can help them realize the good they are doing.

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