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  • Author or Editor: Yen-Chun Lai x
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A high percentage of fresh flowers sold are consumed as gifts in many countries, such as Taiwan, Japan, and the United States. As gift consumption is so important for the sales of fresh flowers, consumer behavior in floral gift giving is investigated in this research. This study explored the consumer decision to purchase fresh flowers as a romantic gift for Valentine’s Day based on 1) relationship stage, 2) affection, and 3) satisfaction with the relationship. The statistical results, based on the data of 366 valid questionnaires collected from a self-administered questionnaire survey, showed that the relationship stage of “personality need fulfillment,” the affection of “passion,” and relationship satisfaction significantly influenced the consumer decision of whether to purchase fresh flowers as romantic Valentine’s Day gifts. Consumers were more likely to buy their intimate partners fresh flowers when they perceived their personality need, such as the need of being loved, was fulfilled in the relationship. When strongly passionate about that relationship, they tended to give fresh flowers in conjunction with other gifts. However, when consumers were more satisfied with their romantic relationships, they were less likely to buy their intimate partners fresh flowers. The study results have valuable implications for florists’ business alliances and advertising campaign development for promoting floral gifts efficiently.

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Research has confirmed that there are physical and mental benefits associated with performing horticultural activities, such as being in contact with soil and viewing plants. In addition, due to the rapidly increasing volume of affective neuroscience research, it is now possible to understand emotional processing in the brain through neuroimaging. The present study was conducted to explore subjects’ emotional responses after participating in horticultural activities, with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the Profile of Mood States used for physiological and psychological measurements, respectively. First, the subjects’ baseline brain activation levels were determined before any engagement in horticultural activities. A week later, the subjects participated in a 5-week horticultural activity. fMRI was used to detect physiological changes during the different stages of the activity—namely, preparation and sowing, fertilizing and weeding, and harvesting. The findings show that the functional connectivity of the brain regions was activated, including the emotional prosody network. Hence, this study provides evidence that gardening can stimulate functional connectivity, activation of positive emotions, and mindfulness in the brain. The findings provide a neuroscientific understanding of the types of horticultural activities that increase positive emotions, meditation, creativity, attention, and relaxation and reduce depression.

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