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Edited by Russell W. Belk
Chapter 30: Consumption Experiences as Escape: An Application of the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique
Robin A. Coulter In the early 1980s, Holbrook and Hirschman (1982) drew attention to the study of experiential consumption and, over the past two decades, numerous scholars have contributed to furthering our understanding of aesthetic, as well as physically challenging and risky, consumption experiences (e.g., Arnould and Price, 1993; Belk, 1988; Belk, Wallendorf and Sherry, 1989; Celsi, Rose and Leigh, 1993; Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; McCracken, 1988; Mick and Buhl, 1992; Shouten, 1991; Thompson, Pollio and Locander, 1994; Wallendorf and Arnould, 1991). Recent work by Arnould and Thompson (2005) proposes a theory of consumer culture that focuses on the experiential and sociocultural dimensions of consumption, and greater interest has been directed to managing customer experiences (Gobé, 2001; Pine and Gilmore, 1999; Lindstrom, 2005; Schmitt, 1999, 2003). Thus understanding more about consumption experiences in the context of consumers’ everyday lives is an important undertaking. The intent herein is to contribute to the literature on consumers’ experiences using the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET). ZMET is a hybrid methodology grounded in various domains, including verbal and nonverbal communication, visual sociology, visual anthropology, literary criticism, semiotics, mental imagery, cognitive neuroscience and phototherapy (Zaltman, 1997, 2003; Zaltman and Coulter, 1995). The tenets – thought occurs as a pattern of neural activity, not as words; most human meaning is exchanged nonverbally; much cognition is embodied; emotion and reason are equally important and commingle in decision making; most thought, emotion and learning occur without awareness; mental models guide the selection of, processing of and response to stimuli; cognitions are...
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