MODE Model: Explanation and Implications for Consumer Behaviour

Attitudes are frequently of interest because they can influence behavior. Nonetheless, many factors influence conduct in humans, and it has been debatable how attitudes influence behavior. It has occasionally been observed that attitudes are a poor indicator of actual conduct. There are clear explanations for why this would be the case. As a behavioral predictor, attitudes often conflict with impulses that come from people's immediate interpretations of their circumstances and may lead to different conduct than an attitude measure anticipated.

For example, behavioral standards can moderate the relationship between consistency in attitude and conduct. Also, as people navigate the world, they come across natural, particular examples of attitude objects. There may be few similarities between deliberate assessments of these entities in the circumstances in which they appear. The broad circumstances under which it is anticipated that object-evaluation associations will direct behavior are described in the MODE paradigm of attitude-behavior concordance.

MODE Model

Attitudes can be automatically triggered and have a relatively immediate impact on behavior. Even without the person being aware of it, attitudes can encourage approach or avoidance behavior by influencing how they evaluate an item in the present situation. However, people can also choose a situationally suitable course of action by carefully weighing the pros and cons.

According to the MODE model, motivation and opportunity have a role in determining whether a scenario would likely lead to spontaneous or deliberate evaluative processing. Secondly, deliberate processing depends on a person's motivation to think carefully about a behavioral choice. When it comes to the issue of attitude-behavior relations, the MODE model can be seen as an elaboration of Kruglanski's concept of lay epistemology. Kruglanski discussed general procedures and motivating elements essential to knowledge acquisition.

People are said to have a "fear of invalidity" when driven to avoid coming to an incorrect conclusion because of the imagined repercussions. These people are more inclined to consider the judgment or action thoroughly. Extending these concepts to the attitude-behavior relationship, it can be said that when people are motivated to exert cognitive effort by a "fear of invalidity," behavioral decisions (which might or might not seem congruent with attitudes) will be made through diligent consideration.

Deliberative processing may begin due to motivating considerations; however, it is only sometimes feasible even when such contemplation is desired. Opportunity is the second part of the acronym MODE since it will occasionally be necessary to expend sufficient cognitive effort due to time constraints or resource limitations. As a result of their ability to activate automatically, attitudes may serve as a default behavior guide in these situations. Accessibility will act as a moderator in the case of an attitude-behavior relationship that is more impulsive.

Even without opportunity and desire, attitudes can only influence action if they are called up from memory. Suppose previously held attitudes are not brought to mind. In that case, a person's behavior must be determined by their initial assessment of the circumstance, regardless of any shortfall in motivation or lack of an opportunity for fruitful reflection. In an experimental setup using consumer decision situations, the acronymic assumption of MODE—that motive and opportunity are factors influencing the kind of processing—was put to the test. Participants were given a series of comments by Sanbonmatsu and Fazio describing the different departments of two department shops.

In contrast, Brown's was typically described in bad terms compared to the imaginary department store Smith's. Participants eventually came to think far more favorably of Smith's than Brown's, which aligns with their directives to create a broad assessment of the two establishments. However, each establishment's camera section was represented oppositely—as unfavorable at Smith's but as favorable at Brown's—contrary to the overall impression that was thus established. This led to specific attribute information that was valenced against the summary rating of each store.

Next, respondents were prompted to consider which retailer they would choose if they were looking to purchase a camera. Selecting Smith's would imply that participants relied solely on their opinions of the department stores themselves, showing relatively simple processing. However, selecting Brown's would imply that participants deliberately gathered pertinent data, contrasted specific characteristic data, and ignored the overall preference for Smith's relative to Brown's.

The circumstances under which the choice was made were modified regarding the incentive and the chance participants had to consider it. The possibility of deliberation was established by a time frame of 15 seconds allotted to some respondents for decision-making while others were not privy to such privileges. When the option for deliberation was manipulated, 50% of the respondents were encouraged to make a good choice because they anticipated having to defend their decision to other respondents and the investigator later.

In contrast, the other half had no such expectation. The outcomes matched what the MODE model had predicted. The business choice with the special camera section was more likely by participants in the two scenarios where they were driven to arrive at a precise selection and had infinite time than participants in the other three parameters. The latter was dependent on how they felt about the two stores generally.

Implications on Consumer Behaviour

Herr and Fazio have explained the MODE model's applicability to consumer behavior. The model provides insight into how and when attitudes regarding products are likely to impact purchasing decisions. The model emphasizes that various product classes may benefit from different marketing approaches. Purchases of "big ticket" things, which are pricey and significant, are more probable to happen after careful consideration than regular purchases.

Even the most upbeat, approachable attitude is useless if someone justifies their inability to purchase the product. In addition, the decision's importance is likely to prompt further analysis and assessment of the attribute data that is readily available rather than dependence on the preexisting attitude. Accessible attitudes may impact the sampling and appraisal of the pertinent facts. Hence, attitudes are not unimportant. However, fear of invalidity is more likely to encourage a bottom-up approach than a top-down, behaviourally-oriented approach - return to the data.

On the other hand, conduct is more likely to be controlled by spontaneous processes brought on by automatic attitude activation in everyday purchases. Such insignificant purchases lessen the possibility of normative worries or the fear of invalidity. The numerous effects of attitude availability and its mediating effect in the attitude-behavior relationship suggest that marketers are vested in promoting attitude accessibility, especially about frequently purchased products, assuming that the item is satisfactory and sentiments are favorable.


The MODE Model is a comprehensive analysis of different facets of behavior and attitudes and bears elucidations for numerous strata of everyday life activities. Thus, despite its criticism, it is long withstanding the backlashes and continually explains consumer research at max.

Updated on: 30-Mar-2023


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