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Tourism Management 26 (2005) 833844

The theme park experience: An analysis of pleasure, arousal and satisfaction

J. Enrique Bignea,, Luisa Andreua, Juergen Gnothb

Department of Marketing, Faculty of Economics, University of Valencia, Avda. Naranjos s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain b Department of Marketing, School of Business, University of Otago, Clyde St. Dunedin, New Zealand Received 24 September 2003; accepted 11 May 2004

Abstract This article analyses how visitor emotions in a theme park environment inuence satisfaction and behavioural intentions. Emotions consist of two independent dimensions, i.e. pleasure and arousal. Two competing models were tested. The rst model is derived from the environmental psychology research stream as developed by (An Approach to Environmental Psychology, MIT Press, Cambridge, 1974), where the visitors arousal generates pleasure and, in turn, approach/avoidance behaviour. This emotioncognition model is supported by Zajonc and Markus (1984). The second model to be tested is based on Lazarus (Emotion and Adaptation, Oxford University Press, New York, 1991) cognitive theory of emotions. In this latter model, emotions are elicited by visitors disconrmation of the theme park. Using conrmatory factor analysis, it was supported that the cognitive theory of emotions better explains the effect of pleasure on satisfaction and loyalty. Additionally, consumers willingness to pay more for the service is more likely to be induced by disconrmation than by satisfaction alone. Managerial implications concerning the cognitiveaffective sequence of satisfaction are discussed. r 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Emotions; Satisfaction; Behavioural intentions; Tourist behaviour; Spain; Theme park

1. Introduction Satisfaction research has recognized the need to incorporate both affective and cognitive components in modelling consumer satisfaction (Wirtz, Mattila, & Tan, 2000). It is suggested that a purely cognitive approach may be inadequate in modelling satisfaction evaluations, so it is particularly important to include emotional variables (Liljander & Strandvik, 1997; Oliver, Rust, & Varki, 1997; Wirtz & Bateson, 1999). However, to date, there is a lack of research on the emotional effects affecting consumer satisfaction and behavioural intentions when consumers are involved in a service setting. Because consumers interact with the
Corresponding author. Tel.: +34-96-382-83-12; fax: +34-96-38283-33. E-mail address: (J.E. Bigne).

service environment and personnel during the consumption experience, understanding consumers affective responses becomes critical (Szymanski & Henard, 2001; Wirtz et al., 2000; Zins, 2002). Such understanding is paramount in tourism services, with important emotional involvement regarding the tourist experience (Barsky & Nash, 2002; Ryan, 1999). Focusing on tourists subjective experiences (Vitters, Vorkinn, Vistad, & Vaagland, 2000; Gnoth, Zins, Lengmueller, & Boshoff, 2000a, 2000b), the need to integrate cognitive and emotional concepts in order to explain tourist satisfaction and behavioural intentions is highlighted (Zins, 2002). In fact, one of the objectives of marketing and applied social sciences is to develop knowledge to inuence behaviour. Early studies have focused on understanding the bases of action from a theoretical standpoint. Work on behavioural intentions goes back to research carried out by Fishbein and Ajzen

0261-5177/$ - see front matter r 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2004.05.006

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(1975), who investigated the relationship between beliefs, attitudes, intention and behaviour. Before 1980, the theory was known as the FishbeinAjzen behavioural intentions model or as the extended model, which forms part of the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). The TRA makes attitude-towards-behaviour a determinant of intentions and introduces a second determinant, which is referred to as the subjective norm. The latter is the internalised inuence of people who are important to a respondent. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) introduces a further determinant of intention called perceived behavioural control (Ajzen, 1991). A recent study by Perugini and Bagozzi (2001) goes into greater depth and expands the TPB by integrating the achievement of personal goals and introducing emotional variables (i.e. anticipated emotions) as important antecedents in decision-making processes. Although researchers agree on the importance of relationships between emotional variables, consumer satisfaction and behavioural intentions, there are no conclusive ndings. Furthermore, the interplay between emotions and cognition is still unresolved Chebat and Michon (2003). This knowledge gap motivated the present research, whose conceptual contribution involves the identication and development of theoretical linkages between these variables. Drawing on the revision of studies coming out of psychology and marketing (e.g., Bagozzi, Gopinath, & Nyer, 1999; Liljander & Strandvik, 1997; Perugini & Bagozzi, 2001), interesting inter-relationships of emotions with consumer satisfaction and behavioural intentions are to be found. The main purpose of this study is to propose a model that explains the cognitiveaffective determinants of satisfaction and their consequences. First of all, a conceptual framework of cognition, emotions and satisfaction is presented. Based on previous studies, two competing models combining emotions and cognition are tested using conrmatory factor analysis. The empirical study is applied in a sample of 200 visitors to a theme park. Theme parks are considered a form of leisure activity because they provide an opportunity for entertainment during an individuals discretionary free time (Milman, 1991). According to Milman (2001) the popularity of theme park and attractions will continue to grow, as they are increasingly associated with new vacation experiences.

2. Conceptual framework and research hypotheses This research deals with the nature of emotions, disconrmation and consumer satisfaction, as well as the relationships between them. The principal theories that explain such concepts are explained, because they constitute the theoretical basis for the model. Speci-

cally, a literature review of the appraisal theories of emotions (see Bagozzi et al., 1999), the cognitive approach to satisfaction (principally, the disconrmation paradigm) and literature in favour of an affective approach to satisfaction (Westbrook, 1987; Wirtz & Bateson, 1999), all suggest the importance of studying cognitiveaffective modes in behaviour formation. Given the diversity of affective variables (Cohen & Areni, 1991), this study centres on emotions. Emotions are considered to be more intense than moods in their relationship to the stimuli that they are provoked by Batson, Shaw, and Oleson (1992). Emotions consist of two independent dimensions, i.e. pleasure and arousal (Russell & Pratt (1980)), and it is evidenced that arousal inuences pleasure Chebat and Michon (2003). A dimensional approach to explaining emotions is reasonable, based on previous studies (Menon & Kahn, 2002). The dimensional approximation presumes that the emotional space is made up of a limited number of non-specic dimensions, such as pleasure, arousal and dominance (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974; Russell, 1980). In recent marketing studies, there has been considerable consensus in respect to their bidimensional character (Mano & Oliver, 1993; Mattila & Wirtz, 2000; Wirtz & Bateson, 1999), and this reects the degree to which different individuals incorporate subjective experiences of pleasantness/unpleasantness and activated/deactivated subjective feelings into their emotional experiences (Feldman, 1998). Whereas pleasure refers to the degree to which a person feels good, joyful or happy in a situation, arousal refers to the extent to which a person feels stimulated and active. In this study, the emotions were measured based on Russells model (1980), which comes out of environmental psychology (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974), and has been used in later research in marketing (Wirtz & Bateson, 1999; Wirtz et al., 2000). It appears to have a number of advantages for conceptualising service experiences over its competing models, which may be one reason for its popularity in services research (Wirtz & Bateson, 1999). Consumer satisfaction is a concept that has been widely debated in the literature (Bowen, 2001; Kozak, 2001; Oliver, 1997; Ryan, 1995; Yuksel & Yuksel, 2001). Many studies have suggested denitions without any real consensus (Giese & Cote, 2000), and this leads to a situation of a certain ambiguity as to the nature of satisfaction (Babin & Grifn, 1998). Traditionally satisfaction was considered to be a cognitive state, inuenced by cognitive antecedents, and with a relative character, i.e. it is the result of the comparison between a subjective experience and a prior base of reference (Oliver, 1980). Recently, the need to understand satisfaction from a more affective perspective has been highlighted always in connection with cognitive inuences (Oliver et al., 1997; Phillips & Baumgartner, 2002; Wirtz & Bateson, 1999). In view of previous studies,

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consumer satisfaction can be dened as a cognitiveaffective state resulting from cognitive evaluations (including disconrmation), as well as from emotions these evaluations evoke. Disconrmation means that the results of a service experience are inferior (or superior) to what was expected by the consumer when he/she made a decision to purchase (Oliver, 1997). This will have negative (or positive) implications for the evaluation of the service experience. Consumers select services in the hope that these services will offer a series of benets. The relationship between disconrmation and emotions has been contrasted in previous studies (Menon & Dube, 2000; Oliver et al., 1997; Wirtz & Bateson, 1999), corroborating the positive relationship between the magnitude of the disconrmation and the intensity of the emotion in order to explain consumer satisfaction (Woodruff, Cadotte, & Jenkins, 1983). It would therefore seem coherent to assume that a service short of performance expectations can cause displeasure, and that performance exceeding expectations can cause pleasure (Wirtz & Bateson, 1999). Although this cognitive and affective sequence shows a cognitive appraisal and then creates the emotions, there is evidence for approaching this issue the other way around, i.e. emotions do not always need cognitions (Zajonc (1980). The debate between the cognitive and affective sequence is an acknowledged and re-emerging research issue (Chebat & Michon, 2003; Dube, Cervellon, & Jingyuan, 2003). Two schools of thought are confronted in this debate. On one hand, there is the emotioncognition approach. Zajonc and Markus (1984) contend that an emotion can be generated by biological, sensory or cognitive events. Arousal and motor activities are the hard representations of emotions. The experience of emotion, which requires a cognitive input, is the soft representation of affect. Only arousal is a necessary consequence of the generation of emotion. For Zajonc and Markus (1984), the experience of emotion is simply the cognition of having an emotion. On the other hand, the cognitionemotion school of thought (Lazarus, 1991) posits the causal role of cognition as a necessary but not sufcient condition in order to elicit emotions. External and internal cues must be appraised in terms of ones own experience and goals. Appraisal of the signicance of the personenvironment relationship, therefore, is both necessary and sufcient; without a personal appraisal (i.e., of harm or benet) there will be no emotion; when such an appraisal is made, an emotion of some kind is inevitable (Lazarus, 1991 p. 177). In line with the above, a series of hypotheses on the cognitiveaffective sequence of satisfaction are proposed, taking into account the two schools of thought. Both perspectives are brought together in two competing models combining emotions and cognition. In the rst model, the positive arousal felt by the visitor

inuences the visitors perceptions of the theme park (i.e. disconrmation) and pleasure. The competing model hypotheses that disconrmation inuences visitors arousal, thus enhancing visitors pleasure. Figs. 1 and 2 show the two competing models. In the rst model (see Fig. 1) it is assumed that, independently of appraisal (e.g. disconrmation), arousal inuences visitors satisfaction through the pleasure dimension. Russell, 1980 found that pleasure and arousal were independent dimensions. Berlyne (Berlyne, 1971; Berlyne, 1974;) hypothesized that arousal inuences pleasure. The path from arousal to pleasure is veried in current marketing studies (Babin & Attaway, 2000; Chebat & Michon, 2003; Wakeeld & Baker (1998)). Pleasant feelings are not necessarily correlated with strong arousal (Dube, Chebat, & Morin (1995); Spangenberg, Crowley, & Henderson (1996)). Considering the large spectrum of arousal, the inuence of arousal over pleasure may be either positive or negative (Chebat & Michon, 2003). However, assuming an amusing (enjoyable) theme park experience, the effect of arousal on pleasure should be positive. More formally, Hypothesis 1. Positive arousal should positively inuence visitor pleasure. Several researchers in psychology (Kahneman, 1973; Mano, 1992, Sanbonmatsu & Kardes, 1988) have
H2 Positive arousal H1 + H4b + H7 Positive disconfirmation H3 +

Willingness to pay more

H5b +


H4a +

Satisfaction H5a +

H6 + Loyalty

Fig. 1. Proposed modelModel 1.

H7 + H3 +
Positive disconfirmation

H8b +

Positive arousal

H4b +

H5b +

Willingness to pay more

H1 H8a +

+ H4a + H5a + H6 +


Fig. 2. Competing modelModel 2.

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examined the relationship between arousal and subsequent information processing. For example, Kahneman (1973) found that more arousing stimuli elicit more attention and more elaborate network encoding in memory than less arousing stimuli. This is consistent with the view that a positive arousal is expected to provoke a favourable perception of the theme park environment, under the approach/avoidance model (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974; Donovan & Rossiter (1982)). Hence, Hypothesis 2 is stated. Hypothesis 2. Visitor arousal contributes to positive disconrmation, which is derived from cognitive evaluations of their theme park experience. Research into consumer satisfaction from a cognitive point of view has been dominated by the disconrmation paradigm. This paradigm suggests that consumer satisfaction is a result of the comparison between the perceived performance with some standard before the consumption. A direct causal relationship between disconrmation and satisfaction has been empirically conrmed (Cadotte, Woodruff, & Jenkins, 1987; Bowen, 2001; Szymanski & Henard, 2001), and therefore this relationship is modelled in the present study as follows: Hypothesis 3. Positive disconrmation contributes to the levels of consumer satisfaction. Whereas the early models of satisfaction were centred mainly on the cognitive processes in order to understand and explain consumer satisfaction (Oliver, 1980), there is also theoretical support for linking emotions with satisfaction (Mano & Oliver, 1993; Liljander & Strandvik, 1997; Erevelles, 1998; Phillips & Baumgartner, 2002; Westbrook & Oliver, 1991). In line with previous research, the proposed model points out that, together with the cognitive component, the emotions (pleasure and arousal) positivelyimpact satisfaction. Therefore, Hypothesis 4a. The pleasure dimension positively inuences visitor satisfaction. Hypothesis 4b. The arousal dimension positively inuences visitor satisfaction. Based on a multi-stage model of consumer behaviour (Moutinho, 1987; Woodside & King, 2001), the evaluation typically results in strong feelings of dissatisfaction, which has ramications for tourists coming back or switching to other tourism attractions and for telling others about favourable or unfavourable parts of their experiences (Baker & Crompton, 2000; Kozak, 2001). Given that the cost of retaining an existing customer is less expensive than prospecting for a new customer (Spreng, Harrell, & Mackoy, 1995), behavioural intentions are a very important consideration for marketers. Behavioural intentions are directly inuenced by customer satisfaction (LaBarbera & Mazursky, 1983), and

some authors suggest that satisfaction is more inuential in forming ones behavioural intentions than service quality (Cronin & Taylor, 1994). Most marketing scholars studying behavioural intentions distinguish different behavioural dimensions, such as loyalty and willingness to pay more (Zeithaml, Berry, & Parasuraman, 1996; Wakeeld & Blodgett, 1999; Baker & Crompton, 2000; Dean, Morgan, & Tan, 2002). In summary, Hypothesis 5a. Visitor satisfaction positively inuences the loyalty towards the theme park. Hypothesis 5b. Visitor satisfaction positively inuences the willingness to pay more. Few empirical studies include both affect and cognition as mediators to consumer behaviour. Some marketing scholars have studied the inuence of positive emotions as a moderating variable in the relationship between satisfaction and brand loyalty (Bloemer & de Ruyter, 1999; Oliver et al., 1997), but these are centred solely on positive emotions. The sixth hypothesis is congruent with the approach/avoidance model (e.g., Mehrabian & Russell, 1974) and ndings by Donovan & Rossiter (1982). It is believed that visitors deriving pleasure from the experience are more likely to exhibit positive behavioural intentions, such as positive word of mouth and intention to return (i.e. loyalty). Therefore, Hypothesis 6. The pleasure dimension positively inuences visitors loyalty behaviour. While there is a signicant body of scientic research on the effects of disconrmation on satisfaction, the research corpus on theeffect of disconrmation on behavioural intentions is much more limited. In the marketing literature, the cognitive sequence of disconrmationsatisfactionintentions have been given only passing attention among effects and co-occurrences of satisfaction (Baker & Crompton, 2000; Oliver et al., 1997). Considering that theme parks charge a pay-oneprice admission fee to visitors (Camp, 1997), the appropriateness of the perceived price versus what customers really receive (i.e. disconrmation) remains an interesting and practical issue. Regarding willingness to pay more (Zeithaml et al., 1996; Baker & Crompton, 2000; Dean et al., 2002; Wakeeld & Blodgett, 1999), it is supposed that visitors who positively evaluate their theme park experience (positive disconrmation) are more likely to pay more for the entertainment service. The following hypothesis summarises this expectation: Hypothesis 7. Positive disconrmation contributes to the levels of willingness to pay more. The competing model (Fig. 2) assumes that the disconrmation or appraisal construct is an antecedent to visitor emotions. Marketing scholars such as Bagozzi

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& Moore,, 1994 and Bagozzi et al. (1999) have relied on the cognitive theory of emotions to explain consumer behaviour. Consistent with this argument, the following eighth hypothesis is proposed: Hypothesis 8a. The visitors positive disconrmation contributes to the feelings of pleasure. Hypothesis 8b. The visitors positive disconrmation contributes to feelings of positive arousal. Hypothesis 2 in the proposed model (see Fig. 1, Model 1) posits that the arousal dimension of emotions is an antecedent to cognition (e.g. Zajonc & Markus, 1984), whereas Hypotheses 8a and 8b, in the competing model (see Fig. 2, Model 2), assume that cognitive processes (i.e. disconrmation) inuence both dimensions of emotions (e.g., Lazarus, 1991).

3. Research methodology 3.1. Research approach and sampling frame As a basis for the methodological approach the present study follows a positivist paradigm. The test of the competing models is carried out by means of an empirical study in the area of leisure and tourism services which, given its hedonic nature (Ryan, 1997; Wakeeld & Blodgett, 1999; Gnoth et al., 2000a, 2000b), generates consumer emotions (Hirschman & Holbrook, 1982; Goossens, 2000; Mattila & Wirtz, 2000). Research on tourism attractions is interesting due to the fact that these services allow studying emotional reactions in consumers (Otto & Ritchie, 1996; Vitters et al., 2000). Moreover, in recent years, the leisure and tourism industry has faced intense competition from a wide range of rapidly emerging innovative leisure products (Milman, 2001; Stevens, 2000). The applied study of visitor experiences in the theme park industry is therefore of theoretical and practical interest. The intrinsic peculiarities of emotions and consumer satisfaction during a service experience have an effect on research methodology. Thus, a qualitative and quanti tative approach has been adopted (Bigne, 2000). On the one hand, ten in-depth interviews were carried out with employees as well as with visitors of theme parks. In addition, two consumer focus groups were set up, with the objectives of analysing visitor experience in tourism attractions, and of marking out as precisely as possible the characteristics of possible responses to the questionnaire used in the quantitative research. On the other hand, a quantitative focus was adopted. Specically, personal interviews were conducted inside the theme park, i.e., during the experience of the service itself, as the stimulus that evokes visitor emotions. The use of questionnaires for gathering information on consump-

tion emotions is based on the retrieval hypothesis (Solomon, Bamossy & Askegaard (1999)), i.e., by identifying the evaluation of the visitor interviewed during his/her visit to the theme park. Survey data were collected in a Spanish-Mediterranean theme park from consumers aged 18 or older. A theme park setting was selected as an ideal location for the aim of the study since these parks are generally associated with highly emotional experiences (McClung, 2000). The theme park where the eldwork was carried out covers a surface area in excess of one million square meters. Inside the theme park, there are attractions for children and adults, shows, restaurants and shops. With the goal of providing a greater sensation of reality, the use of modern technology applied to this type of settings is especially evident: special effects, animated robots, three-dimensional imaging, among others. At the same time, the atmosphere and the activity in the theme park contribute to having the visitors enjoy, generally speaking, an active participation. Visitors usually spend one day in the theme park. In fact, 81% of the visitors interviewed responded that they had spent the whole day there. Duly trained interviewers arranged the interviews, which were conducted during the 2001 summer season. With the objective of getting up close to the stimuli that triggered the emotions that the consumer experiences as a visitor during his/her enjoyment of the attractions, the interviews were carried out in situ. An interviewer was stationed outside the entrance to the attraction; the interviewees, 200 consumers over the age of 18 (48.5% male, 51.5% female), were selected at random. Other socio-demographic characteristics are as follows: age group 1834 years (41%), 3554 years (56%), 55 and older (3%); regarding respondents monthly incomes, the percentages were: below, similar to, and above US$ 1082 (26.1%, 32.2% and 41.7%, respectively), and regarding nationality: 91.3% Spanish and 8.7% international visitors. Visitors were mainly accompanied by their families (79.8%) or friends (18.2%). 3.2. Questionnaire and measurement scales Together with the classication questions related to the socio-demographic variables and the theme park experience (duration of stay, previous experience in theme parks, travel companion, etc.), multiple-item scales of the different constructs dealt with in the proposed conceptual model (emotions, disconrmation, consumer satisfaction, and behavioural intentions) were included in a structured questionnaire. These constructs were measured as follows. Emotions were measured by twelve items (Russell, 1980), representing the pleasure and arousal dimensions. Pleasure was measured with a 5-point semantic differential scale, with the following six items: angrysatised;

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unhappyhappy; dissatisedvery pleased; sadjoyful; disappointeddelighted, and boredentertained. Analogously, six items measured arousal: cheerfuldepressed; quietanxious; enthusiasticcalm; nervousrelaxed; activepassive, and surprisedindifferent. Perceived disconrmation was measured using 2 items: Olivers (1980) 5-point semantic differential scale ranging from overall, the amusement service was worse than expected to better than expected, and Churchill & Surprenants (1982) 5-point semantic differential scale ranging from overall, my expectations about the theme park were too high: it was poorer than I thought to too low: it was better than I thought. Satisfaction was measured on a ve-item, 5-point Likert-type scale based on Olivers (1997) scale: (1) this is one of the best theme parks I could have visited, (2) I am satised with my decision to visit this theme park, (3) my choice to visit this theme park was a wise one, (4) I have really enjoyed myself in this theme park, and (5) I am sure it was the right thing to visit this theme park. Behavioural intentions were measured using the Zeithaml et al. (1996) scale. Specically, loyalty and willingness to pay more were selected, with four and two items, respectively. The loyalty items were: (1) say positive things about the theme park, (2) recommend this theme park, (3) encourage friends and relatives to visit it, and (4) come back to this one in the future. Items for measuring willingness to pay more were as follows: (1) come back to the theme park even if the price increases, and (2) pay a higher price than for other services for the benets of this theme park.

4. Results 4.1. Measurement analysis Regarding emotions, and in particular, the pleasure dimension, the Cronbach alpha turned out to be high (a :91); in contrast, the reliability of arousal with 6 items was low (a :68). Reviewing the values obtained in other studies that have used these scales, it became evident that in these studies the reliability coefcient of arousal was also lower than that obtained for pleasure. For instance, in the study carried out by Dawson, Bloch & Ridgway (1990), the dimension of pleasure achieved a Cronbachs alpha coefcient of .72, whereas for arousal the value of a obtained was .64. In research carried out by Oliver et al. (1997), the a values corresponding to arousal were also low (Study 1: a :56, Study 2: a :67), while the pleasure dimension reached higher values (Study 1: a :89, Study 2: a :84). To improve the reliability for arousal, it was necessary to eliminate two items (a :74). The validity test based on the tenitem scale through the second-order conrmatory factor

analysis (CFA), used the EQS program (Bentler 1995; Byrne, 1994). The dimensionality, construct reliability (pleasure and arousal were: rc :93 and rc :80, respectively), and convergent validity (SBw2 34 75:04, po:01, NFI = .94, NNFI = .95, GFI = .92, AGFI = .87, CFI =.96, RMSEA = .08) were veried. The test for content validity of disconrmation derived from its domain specication in previous literature (see Oliver, 1997), resulted in a relatively low Cronbachs alpha coefcient (a :67). With regard to overall satisfaction, content validity, exploratory reliability (a :90), construct reliability (rc :90), unidimensionality, and convergent validity (SBw2 = 8.03, p :15, 5 NFI = .98, NNFI = .98, GFI = .98, AGFI = .94, CFI =.99, RMSEA = .07) are all supported. Regarding behavioural intentions, loyalty and WPM were also reliable, with 4 (a :90) and 2 items (a :87), respectively. After analysing each measure separately, a CFA was performed, rst of all, with the 23 measurement variables combined into a single factor. The robust Maximum Likelihood was selected for an estimation algorithm. The results obtained in this model were compared with those obtained for the six-factor model (disconrmation, pleasure, arousal, satisfaction, loyalty and willingness to pay more). The single factor model showed clearly unsatisfactory goodness of t indices (SBw2 230 = 1133.54, po:01, NFI = .59, NNFI = .59, GFI = .55, AGFI = .46, CFI =.63, RMSEA = .16, AIC = 1005.07). On the contrary, the 6-factor measurement model showed a reasonable t (SBw2 215 = 401.30, po:01, NFI = .87, NNFI = .91, GFI = .84, AGFI = .80, CFI =.93, RMSEA = .07, AIC = 32.08). Once the t of the six-factor measurement model was veried, the construct reliability and construct validity were estimated. First of all, following the recommendations by Anderson & Gerbing (1988) and Hair, Anderson, Tatham, & Black (1995), the construct reliability (rc ) is calculated for each factor. These results are shown in Table 1. Taking into account that values above .6 are considered sufciently appropriate (Bagozzi & Yi, 1988), the scale reliability is veried. Therefore, the items proposed for measurement of the latent variables are providing consistent measures. Second, a scale has construct validity when it has convergent, discriminant, and nomological validity (Peter, 1981; Steenkamp & van Trijp, 1991). Convergent validity exists when the different items of the same latent variable are strongly correlated. Scale convergent validity can be veried by checking the t tests of the factor loadings in such a way that if all of the factor loadings of the manifest variables that are measuring the same construct are statistically signicant, they serve as evidence to support the convergent validity of these indicators (Anderson & Gerbing, 1988). In this study, all of the factor loadings are signicant for po:001.

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Additionally, all of the loadings are above .5, which means convergent validity of all the scales used (Steenkamp & van Trijp, 1991). The discriminant power of the six factors was assessed based on condence intervals (Anderson & Gerbing, 1988). All possible correlations between the six factors represented in the scales were calculated, as well as the condence interval 2 standard errors. The condition that there can be no values of 1 within the interval was met in the present research, thus conrming the discriminant validity of the scales analysed. Finally, scales show nomological validity when the construct being measured is capable of bringing to light relationships with other constructs which, conceptual or theoretically, should exist (Peter, 1981). This type of validity needs to be based on theoretical relationships, and for this reason this analysis was consigned to be dealt with after the estimation of the theoretical model, and will be discussed further below. To illustrate the cognitive and affective paths of the visitors theme park experience, structural equation modelling (SEM) was used. The variables described in Table 1 were entered in both models. Maximum
Table 1 Construct measurement summary: CFA and scale reliabilitya Item Item description summary

Likelihood (ML) Conrmatory Factor Analysis was performed. The ML solution maximizes the probability that the observed covariances are drawn from a population that has its variancecovariances generated from the process implied by the model, assuming a multivariate normal distribution. According to (Golob, 2003, p. 8), corrections have also been developed to adjust ML estimators to account for non-normality. The competing models were set up and estimated with EQS for Windows 5.7b (Bentler, 1995). A moderate violation of multivariate kurtosis assumptions showed up in the study sample (Mardias coefcient 10.42), which could have led to overestimation of chi-square, underestimation of t indices and underestimation of standard error of parameter esti mates (Dube et al., 2003; West, Finch, & Curran, 1995). Thus, this study utilizes the SatorraBentler Scaled chisquare (SB Scaled w2 ) and robust Comparative Fit Index (Robust CFI), robust statistics and t indices that are corrected for abnormality. Among the common programs (Hox, 1995), EQS produces a robust chisquare and standard errors to handle non-normal data (Bentler, 1995).


Std. deviation

Std. loading

t value

Disconrmation (rC :70) DISC1 Worse/better than expected DISC2 Poorer/better than I (had) expected Pleasure (rC :93) PLEA1 Angrysatised PLEA2 Unhappyhappy PLEA3 Dissatisedvery pleased PLEA4 Sadjoyful PLEA5 Disappointeddelighted PLEA6 Boredentertained Arousal (rC :80) AROU1 Depressedcheerful AROU2 Calmenthusiastic AROU3 Passiveactive AROU4 Indifferentsurprised Satisfaction (rC :91) SAT1 This is one of the best theme parks I have ever visited SAT2 Im pleased to have visited this theme park SAT3 I was a good idea to visit this theme park SAT4 I have really enjoyed myself at this theme park SAT5 I dont regret having visited this theme park Loyalty (rC :90 LOY1 Say positive things about the theme park LOY2 Recommend this theme park LOY3 Encourage friends and relatives to visit it LOY4 Come back to this one in the future Willingness to pay more (rC :87) PAY1 Come back to the theme park even if the price increases PAY2 Pay a higher price than for otherservices for the benets of this theme park

3.44 2.99 3.88 3.94 3.87 3.93 3.92 3.96 3.96 3.60 3.83 3.56 3.10 3.74 3.72 3.68 3.71 3.88 3.92 3.88 3.46 3.05 2.97

1.18 1.01 .92 .84 .89 .94 .89 .89 .90 1.08 .98 .93 1.15 .87 .95 .94 1.03 .76 .76 .75 .99 1.09 1.10

.87 .58 .86 .87 .84 .85 .81 .81 .82 .55 .82 .60 .52 .87 .86 .89 .88 .92 .94 .85 .58 .93 .82

10.90 6.83 14.74 13.10 14.18 14.12 13.67 12.47 13.84 7.64 14.23 8.22 7.81 13.02 12.81 13.88 15.87 11.37 11.28 10.13 7.68 13.99 10.88

Fit statistics for measurement model of 23 indicators of 6 constructs: SBw2 401:30, po:01, NFI = .87, NNFI = .91, GFI = .84, AGFI = 215 .80, CFI =.93, RMSEA = .07, AIC = 32.08.

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4.2. Hypothesis testing Model 1 In the rst model, where emotions are antecedent to cognition, the effect of arousal on visitor disconrmation is signicant (b= .429, t 5:15). Likewise, arousal stimulates visitor pleasure (b=784, t 14:94) as anticipated in Hypothesis 1. Thus, visitor arousal improves the positive disconrmation, which is derived from the cognitive evaluation of the visitors theme park experience. Positive disconrmation has signicant effects on satisfaction (b= .306, t 5:95), and pleasure directly inuences visitor satisfaction (b= .418, t 4:81). The arousal dimension has non-signicant effects on satisfaction (b= .111, t 1:17). The combined effect of arousal and pleasure on satisfaction is, however, signicant (b :784 :418 :327). This path has also been hypothesized in the competing model. Fig. 3 shows the path-standardized parameters. Structural parameter estimates and robust-t values are found in Table 2. Satisfaction directly inuences loyalty behaviour (b= .303, t 3:81). As assumed, pleasure inuences loyalty directly (b= .332, t 5:06), although an indirect effect through the satisfaction construct (b :418 :303 :126) was also evident. The path between satisfaction and willingness to pay more is not signicant (b= .131, t 1:22), and consequently, Hypothesis 5b is not conrmed. However, the direct
.35 Positive arousal .10 .77 Pleasure .40 .20

effect of positive disconrmation on willingness to pay more is signicant (b= .220, t 2:72). Fit statistics associated with this model are good (SB Scaled w2 = 9.86; df= 5; p 0:07; NNFI=.96; CFI=.98; Robust CFI= .98; RMSEA= 0.07; CAIC=21:09). Model 2 The competing model (Fig. 4) assumes that perceived disconrmation inuences visitor emotions, i.e. pleasure and arousal. This model yields a better t (SB Scaled w2 = 6.32; df=4; p :18; NNFI=.99; CFI=.99; Robust CFI= .99; RMSEA= .05; CAIC=18:77) (see Table 3). Positive disconrmation inuences visitor arousal directly (b= .282, t 4:68). Although the path between cognition and pleasure is not signicant, disconrmation inuences visitor pleasure indirectly (b :282 :751 :212). As a result, hypotheses 8a and 8b are conrmed. Analogously to the ndings of Model 1, cognitive and affective variables have signicant effects on satisfaction. Although the inuence of disconrmation on arousal is conrmed, the direct effect of arousal on satisfaction is not signicant. Even though the arousal dimension has non-signicant effects on satisfaction, the combined effect of arousal and pleasure on satisfaction is signicant (b :751 :418 :313). With reference to the non-signicant direct relationship between arousal and satisfaction, this can be due to: (a) enjoyment and fun factors weigh more than the
.20 .35 Positive disconfirmation .35 Willingness to pay more .10 .10 Satisfaction .36 .37 Loyalty

Positive disconfirmation .36 Satisfaction

Willingness to pay more


Positive arousal


.74 .40 Pleasure



Fig. 3. Model 1 (standardized parameters).

Fig. 4. Model 2 (standardized parameters).

Table 2 Model 1Affectcognition structural model estimates (robust-t values) Disconrmation Pleasure Satisfaction Loyalty Willingness to pay more = Arousal .429 (5.15) = Arousal .784 (14.94) = Arousal .111 (1.17) = Pleasure .332 (5.06) = Disconrmation .220 (2.72)

+ Pleasure .418 (4.81) + Satisfaction .303 (3.81) + Satisfaction .131 (1.22)

+ Positive disconrmation .306 (5.95)

J.E. Bigne et al. / Tourism Management 26 (2005) 833844 Table 3 Model 2Cognitionaffect structural model estimates (robust-t values) Arousal Pleasure Satisfaction Loyalty Willingness to pay more = Disconrmation .282 (4.68) = Arousal .751 (13.08) = Arousal .111 (1.24) = Pleasure .332 (4.86) = Disconrmation .220 (2.63) 841

+ Disconrmation .078 (1.90) + Pleasure .418 (4.77) + Satisfaction .303 (3.77) + Satisfaction .130 (1.22)

+ Positive disconrmation .306 (5.89)

excitement ones and, (b) the satisfaction construct has a large impact or is inuenced by other non-controlled aspects in this study. In spite of this, an indirect effect of arousal on satisfaction by means of the pleasure dimension is veried. In sum, ndings corroborate the cognitiveaffective perspective for explaining consumer satisfaction. As expected, pleasure and satisfaction inuence loyalty behaviour directly. Furthermore, an indirect effect of pleasure on loyalty through the satisfaction construct (b :418 :303 :126) is also corroborated. However, satisfaction is not a signicant antecedent of willingness to pay more. The model reveals that positive disconrmation inuences this behavioural intention directly. The two models under investigation are constructed from the same latent variables and indicators. They only differ in the order of cognitive and affective variables. The rst model follows the primacy of affect versus cognition. Fit statistics are marginal. Despite a strong CFI (.98) and low RMSEA (.07), the SB Scaled chisquare statistic ts poorly (SB w2 = 9.86; df= 5; p 0:07; CAIC =21.09). The competing model (Model 2) is more robust than the previous one: the SB Scaled chi-square statistic provides strong indications of model t (SB Scaled w2 = 6.32; df=4; p :18; NNFI=.99; CFI=.99; Robust CFI= .99; RMSEA= .05; CAIC=18.77). Particularly the Consistent AIC, used to asymptotically compare structural models (Bozdogan, 1987), indicates the better model through a lower CAIC value. The structural equation model supports Hypothesis 1 (positive arousal inuences visitor pleasure) and Hypothesis 2 (visitor arousal improves positive disconrmation). While the cognitiveaffective sequence of satisfaction is corroborated, Hypothesis 3 (disconrmation inuences satisfaction) and Hypotheses 4a/4b (arousal and pleasure inuence on satisfaction) are supported. However, arousal inuences satisfaction only indirectly through the pleasure dimension. As expected in Hypothesis 5, satisfaction inuences loyalty. At the same time, the path from pleasure to loyalty is doubly

signicant: directly and indirectly through satisfaction. Thus, Hypothesis 6 (pleasure inuences loyalty) is accepted. Finally, the inuence of disconrmation on willingness to pay more (Hypothesis 7) is also supported. The SEM depicting cognition (i.e. disconrmation) as an antecedent to emotions supports the hypotheses: a positive disconrmation inuences visitor pleasure (Hypothesis 8a) and visitor arousal (Hypothesis 8b). However, the cognitive effect of disconrmation on pleasure appears to be fully mediated by visitors arousal.

5. Discussion and conclusion This study compared two competing models of the impact of emotions on satisfaction, willingness to pay more and on loyalty. They thus integrate the environmental perspective of Mehrabian & Russell (1974) with general research into consumer satisfaction (Wirtz et al., 2000) and behavioural intentions (Zeithaml et al., 1996). The models differed in terms of the primacy of affect versus cognition on these outcomes. Since the mid-1980s, an increasing number of consumer researchers have pursued an extension of the mainstream approach in consumer satisfaction, which dened satisfaction primarily as a cognitive construct. The current experiential view offers an integrative framework for explaining consumer satisfaction, considering both the cognitive (i.e. disconrmation) and affective (i.e. emotional dimensions) antecedents. The result that (cognitive) disconrmations evoke arousal which, in turn, inuences feelings of pleasure has implications for management and future research. The dichotomy is between entertainment and information and while the experiential side is, no doubt, of major importance, the results suggest that information priming positive disconrmations can increase satisfaction as well as willingness to pay. In other words, assisting in or improving the perceptual process of the disconrmation may impact satisfaction as well as willingness to pay.

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The form this manipulation can take, however, needs further research as, for example, suggestions to visitors that expectations may have been or will be surpassed (thus increasing the perceived disconrmation) may also change the anchor of the expectation. Such research is all the more important as our results indicate that not satisfaction but disconrmation impacts the willingness to pay more. The model may therefore benet from the inclusion of a value-for-money component in order to see whether the willingness to pay more is mediated by perceptions of value for money the disconrmation experience may evoke. Consistent with Russells model, emotions have two independent dimensions, i.e. pleasure and arousal (Russell & Pratt (1980)). Similar to Chebat & Michon (2003), during the amusing theme park experience, positive arousal inuences visitor pleasure positively. Pleasure is strongly linked to consumer satisfaction and loyalty in experiencing tourism attractions. Arousal is, however, a mediator variable in the relationship between disconrmation and pleasure. In other words, we are reminded that the disconrmation of the theme park experience should not be over-stimulating so that negative arousal and displeasure occurs. The strength of the direct impact of pleasure on loyalty is similar to that of satisfaction. It is an indication that the (physiological) experience of pleasure by itself creates loyalty so that both the promise of pleasure and satisfaction (rather than merely satisfaction through pleasure) need attention. It may thus be helpful to assist visitors in remembering the experience through after-sales services such as brochures, certicates or other memorabilia that remind of the physiological pleasure, in order to bolster word-of-mouth propaganda. The nding that the emotional consequences on behavioural intentions impact loyalty is also indicted in other research dealing with the role of anticipated emotions in decision-making processes (Goossens, 2000) and motivation formation (Gnoth et al., 2000a, 2000b), as well as in the model of goal directed behaviour (MGB) by Perugini & Bagozzi (2001). An interesting contribution of the latter MGB is the introduction of anticipated emotions as important antecedents in decision-making processes. Any form of reminders or evocations of the physiological pleasure one might feel during the experience will therefore assist in generating visits. The ndings have to be considered within the limitations of the research methodology. It includes the singular focus on one leisure and tourism service category, i.e. theme park. The replication of the theoretical structure should be tested for other LTS categories, e.g. museums, adventure tourism. Another limitation stems from the use of self-report measures of affective and cognitive bases (Derbaix & Pham, 1989).

These explicit measures are more likely to be tied to deliberative affect and cognition, because they encourage an active search in memory for specic emotional experiences and cognitive beliefs associated with the focal leisure experience. The models depicted in Figs. 1 and 2, with the introduction of disconrmation, consumption emotions, satisfaction and behavioural intentions, suggest a wide range of research possibilities. First, in order to obtain more generalisable results, it would be interesting to replicate the model for other hedonic services. For example, Barsky & Nash (2002) suggest that the emotions a guest feels during a hotel stay are critical components of satisfaction and loyalty. Second, in building towards a clearer understanding of consumption emotions evoked through experiencing leisure and tourism services, this research would also like to suggest new variables to be taken into account for future enquiries. For instance, pertinent goals for future research would be to study the effects of atmospherics (McGoldrick & Pieros, 1998) on consumption emotions in experiencing tourism attractions. As atmospherics are not directly related to the core experience they may either add together with the core experience or separately on pleasure and satisfaction. Third, the relationship between the dimensions of service excellence (i.e. intangibility, reliability, customer care, among others) and consumer judgment relative to service quality (Dean et al., 2002; Ryan, 1999) is another possible area of future research, linked to consumption emotions. Lastly, and given the growing recognition of the importance of creating and delivering experiencebased perceptions of value (Schmitt, 1999; Robinette & Brand, 2001; Woodruff, 1997), the model built for the present study as well as any future model should consider the contributions value-for-money deliberations have on the outcome variables.

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