Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Fei L. Weisstein

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Minor

Third Advisor

Dr. Reto Felix


Mathematics anxiety is an emotional state resulting in a negative reaction to numerical information and math problems. Therefore, it has been studied by education research to explain its effects on academic performance. However, the marketing literature has failed to notice the role of math anxiety in consumer behavior. As retailers offer various price promotions to increase product sales, buyers need to compare prices and calculate the final price after sales. The success of promotions depends on the way that the sellers frame the promotions, as consumers may react to promotions that offer gains differently than those that reduce their loss. In addition, difficulty of price computation affects consumer response to price promotions since math anxiety limits the capacity of working memory when buyers deal with difficult arithmetic. Subsequently, this study focuses on the interaction effect of math anxiety and promotion framing on consumer price perception by explaining how it creates lower perceived price satisfaction, which in turn decreases perceived emotional value of the product and perceived savings, and leads to lower purchase intention. To answer research questions, this study developed six hypotheses and used experimental research designs, while measuring math anxiety by the MARS-Brief scale, a shorter edition of the MARS scale. The result of data collected from 890 college students and online consumers supported research hypotheses, showing that math-anxious consumers perceive higher price satisfaction and purchase intention when promotion frames are simpler, e.g., gain-framed promotions, dollar-off discounts, a single discount, and bundles with a single price. Low math anxiety buyers responded positively to complex promotion frames, e.g., reduced loss-framed promotions, percentage-off discounts, multiple discounts, and bundles with a price list of items. The study also found that perceived emotional value and perceived savings mediate the effect of price satisfaction on purchase intention. The study discusses and justifies research findings with regard to existing theories. Finally, implications for marketing practice and directions for future research are provided.


Copyright 2015 Peter Andersen. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American

Included in

Marketing Commons