Effects of Embodied Cognition Within Volunteer Tourism

Marina Karaneuskaya & Christina Spetzler Gregersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The industry of volunteer tourism is currently experiencing an exponential growth, which is reflected in the growth of academic interest towards the field. More research is dedicated to look at the benefits of “travelling with purpose”, as coined by Brown in 2005. Specifically, the academics deep dive into the benefits of volunteering as well as the possible negative impact that this trend brings along. Current research looks at volunteer tourism as generally a positive phenomenon and investigates the motivations behind the volunteering through the lenses of the consumer psychology field, specifically embodied cognition, which have not been applied to this industry before. The current study included the quantitative study of 75 Copenhagen Business School students, done through the experiment consisted of temperature priming of participants with subsequent administration of questionnaire. We measured through structural equation modelling and independent samples t-test analyses, if affecting the participants with the cold or warm temperature would increase their perceived feeling of loneliness, which would activate the altruistic or egoistic motive to affiliate through engaging in volunteer tourism. Due to the unexpected affiliation with experiment conductors (what we named as a change in psychological baseline within this research), the participants, who received the cold prime, did not show an increase in the perceived feeling of loneliness compared to the group that received the warm prime. With this, the research was not able to conclude if the temperature prime could activate specific motivations to engage in volunteer tourism. However, arguably, even more important discovery emerged, which suggested the methodological contribution of current research with the potential to further develop the theory on embodied cognition. We suggest to further investigate the impact of the temperature primes on consumer behaviour applied to volunteer tourism industry as well as to study the impact of psychological baseline on emotional state to improve data validity of experiments within psychology research field.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages121
SupervisorsFlorian Kock