New at Leuphana: Prof. Dr. Monika Imschloß - Meaningful Decisions

2021-02-12 The psychologist is the new professor for business administration, especially marketing. She researches the influence of sensory stimuli on our buying and consumer behaviour and wants to understand how people can be encouraged to act more sustainably and healthily.

Monika Imschloß with a bouquet of flowers. ©Leuphana / Marvin Sokolis
Monika Imschloß, Professor of Business Administration, especially Marketing, researches multisensory marketing.

How does a person's attitude to sustainability change when they are frequently confronted with the topic of "upcycling"? In a large experiment, test persons looked at different screenshots of a fictitious furniture store website for six weeks. One group received general tips on interior design and information about the fictitious company and its products. The other group received similar information, but with a reference to upcycling. Finally, the researchers asked about attitudes to sustainability: which respondents could imagine contributing to the environment? "The upcycling group agreed more strongly”, explains Prof. Dr. Monika Imschloß. Even more interesting for her: 50 euros beckoned as a reward for participation. They could be kept or given to an environmental project: "The upcycling group donated more often." 

After her studies, Monika Imschloß did her doctorate in business administration at the University of Mannheim: "Psychology is a very multifaceted discipline. Questions about consumer behaviour fascinated me early on." One of her main areas of research is multisensory marketing. It is used in retail, for example, to sell goods: A jumper feels softer when soft music is played. "We talk about crossmodal correspondence”, the scientist explains. A perception in one sensory modality is transferred to another sensory modality. However, it is not necessarily the music that decides whether customers ultimately buy the jumper: "It is more of a guidance if someone is undecided. Nobody will spontaneously buy an expensive car because the multisensory marketing fits”, explains Monika Imschloß.

It is important to her that this steering can not only encourage consumption, but also sustainable and healthy behaviour. In a current experiment, the researcher shows that certain music can lead to more trust in pharmacists: "Patients report more about their illness and can thus often be advised better." The researcher has also looked at the added health value of fitness trackers and related apps. "It makes a difference in the presentation of results whether data on exercise (calorie consumption) and nutrition (calorie intake) are displayed right next to each other or far away from each other." If test persons see results at a glance, they can integrate them better: For example, someone has walked a lot of steps, but has eaten too much at the same time. If both pieces of information are close to each other, test persons can fool themselves less than if they only saw the high number of steps.

Prof Dr Monika Imschloß studied psychology at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg. In 2014, she received her doctorate from the University of Mannheim on the topic of "Multisensory marketing - an empirical study on the influence of auditory and haptic stimuli on consumer behaviour". One year later, she accepted the call to become an assistant professor of marketing and retailing at the University of Cologne. At the end of 2020, she took over the professorship for business administration, in particular marketing, at Leuphana University Lüneburg.