Journal of Consumer Research
1974-ISSN: 0093-5301 (1537-5277)
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Article URL: https://academic.oup.com/jcr/article/46/1/i1/5486440?rss=1
Citation: Vol 46 No. 1 (2019) pp i1 i1
Publication Date: Tue, 07 May 2019 00:00:00 GMT
Journal: Journal of Consumer Research
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Hearing is our highly sensitive warning system. As a sense, hearing has uniquely evolved to perform this alerting function and is perceptive to subtle ambient cues that are associated with threat. We propose that one aspect of sound that may cue such associations is pitch, such that low-pitch (vs. moderate pitch) background sound nonconsciously primes a threat response resulting in heightened anxiety among consumers. Furthermore, this emotional response manifests itself in the form of increased risk avoidance. Seven studies in varied domains demonstrate that low- (vs. moderate-) pitch background sound results in higher anxiety, which leads to risk-avoidant consumer choices—for instance, being willing to pay more for car insurance or choosing a food option with lower taste uncertainty.
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Consumers tell many lies. While engaging in deception can provide a variety of benefits, a potential danger when lying is that the consumer may subsequently forget aspects of the lie told. To ensure the deception is not inadvertently revealed later, the consumer must remember the content of the lie. In this research, we introduce the notion of deception memory—which we define as memory for the content of a previously communicated lie—and examine what differentiates a memorable lie from a forgettable lie. Three behavioral studies where consumers lie to marketers (study 1) or fellow consumers (studies 2 and 3) and a critical incident study (study 4) show that increases in the consequentiality of the lie heightens lie-induced arousal (LIA), which narrows attention to the content of the lie and subsequently improves deception memory. Therefore, while more arousing lies may be more consequential, and therefore, riskier to tell, our results suggest that they are less likely to be forgotten. This is the first examination of retrieval accuracy for deception memory. Finally, many avenues for future research related to memorable and forgettable lies are proposed in this article.
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Consumers can obtain skill-based products through a variety of acquisition modes, such as purchase or rental. Despite the rise of nonpurchase acquisition modes, surprisingly little research has explored the effects of differential acquisition modes on consumer behavior. This research begins to fill this gap in the literature by examining the effect of acquisition mode on the expected time necessary to master newly adopted skill-based products and the downstream consequences for consumers and marketers. Results of four experiments and a field study show that purchasing, versus renting, products requiring skill-based learning increases the amount of time consumers expect to be required to master them. Further, the differences in speed of product mastery, in turn, impact subsequent consumer behavior via differential levels of product use commitment.
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When people experience threats to important aspects of their self-concept (e.g., power, intelligence, sociability), they often compensate by consuming products that symbolize success, mastery, or competence on the threatened self-domain (within-domain compensatory consumption). Our research examines whether such compensatory consumption is effective in repairing the self-concept. Across seven experiments, we show that whether compensatory consumption is effective depends on the extent to which the connection between the compensatory products and the threatened domains is made explicit. When the connections are made explicit (e.g., through product names and marketing slogans), self-repair is impeded, but when the connections are only implicit (product is inherently symbolic of self-threat domain), self-repair can be successful. We further show that these differential effects of product connection explicitness are mediated by rumination: explicit connections induce rumination about the self-threat, which undermines self-repair, whereas implicit connections cause no rumination, facilitating self-repair. Our research provides a reconciliation of conflicting findings on self-repair in previous research, and also shows that despite the differences in efficacy, consumers compensate regardless of whether product connections are implicit or explicit, which has implications for consumer well-being.
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This research studies repetition decisions—namely, whether to repeat a behavior (e.g., a purchase) after receiving an incentive (e.g., a discount). Can uncertainty drive repetition' Four experiments, all involving real consequences for each individual participant, document a counterintuitive reinforcing-uncertainty effect: individuals repeat a behavior more if its incentive is uncertain than if it is certain, even when the certain incentive is financially better. This effect is robust; it holds in both lab and field settings and at both small and large magnitudes. Furthermore, the experiments identify two theory-driven boundary conditions for the reinforcing-uncertainty effect: the effect arises (a) only if the uncertainty is resolved immediately and not if the resolution of uncertainty is delayed, and (b) only after, not before, one has engaged in repetitions. These results support a resolution-as-reward account and cast doubt on other explanations such as reference-dependent preferences. This research reveals the hidden value of uncertain incentives and sheds light on the delicate relationship between incentive uncertainty and repetition decisions.
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Although marketing offers with flexible price options within a range of two endpoints (i.e., range offers) have been frequently used in various contexts, such as discount ranges, flexible pricing, and deal quotations, our understanding of how consumers react to this pricing strategy is rather limited. The current research suggests that consumers’ reaction to range marketing offers may depend on their general sense of scarcity. Eight studies show that reminders of resource scarcity induce a promotion orientation among consumers, which consequently increases consumers’ favorability toward range marketing offers. This effect is found to strengthen when the range of the offer becomes wider, and to weaken when the range offer cannot provide a better-than-reference outcome. These findings result in novel theoretical insights about the ways consumers react to range marketing offers. From a managerial perspective, this research offers tactics that companies can use to potentially increase the acceptance and effectiveness of range marketing offers.
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Despite abundant work documenting consumers’ reliance on symbolic self-completion after experiencing a self-discrepancy, surprisingly little research has investigated the underlying psychological processes that drive this type of compensatory consumption. This article addresses this critical gap, demonstrating that self-discrepancies triggered by identity threats reduce working memory capacity (WMC), and these reductions in WMC mediate compensatory consumption. Consumers process identity-relevant products more positively than neutral products, establishing a causal chain between self-threats, WMC, and compensatory consumption. In addition, identity-consistent experiences facilitate increases in WMC. Importantly, by utilizing negative emotions as the source of self-threat, this article also demonstrates that identity-inconsistent emotions can serve as a source of threat that is not only impactful, but also easily manipulated by managers through advertisements.
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Variety-seeking is a fundamental aspect of choice. But given circadian rhythms in chronobiology, might variety-seeking vary by time of day' Four studies, including an empirical analysis of millions of purchases, demonstrate diurnal variation in variety-seeking. Variety-seeking is lower in the morning than other times of day. People pick less varied flavors of yogurt, for example, when choosing in the morning. Further, the results demonstrate the underlying role of circadian changes in physiological stimulation and arousal. The effect is mediated by a physiological measure of arousal (i.e., body temperature) and moderated by factors that shape physiological arousal (i.e., sunlight and individual differences in circadian preferences). These findings shed light on drivers of variety-seeking and the biological basis of consumer behavior more generally.
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Imagination visual mental imagery, a mental simulation process that involves imagining an end user interacting with an end product, has been proposed as an efficient strategy to incorporate end-user experiences during new product ideation. Consumer research finds that this strategy enhances overall product usefulness, but does not resolve whether and how this process may impact outcome originality. The present work delineates the imagination visual mental imagery construct and argues that such mental imagery can take two different routes—one that is more feelings-based (i.e., feelings-imagination), and one that is more objective (i.e., objective-imagination). Further, we propose that although these two approaches will equally benefit outcome usefulness, they will have differential impact on outcome originality. Across five studies, we demonstrate that adopting a feelings-imagination versus an objective-imagination approach induces higher empathic concern, enhancing cognitive flexibility, which leads to higher outcome originality. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.
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Evidence suggests that consumers seek to become more expert about hedonic products to enhance their enjoyment of future consumption occasions. Current approaches to becoming expert center on cultivating an analytic mind-set. In the present research the authors explore the benefit to enthusiasts of moving beyond analytics to cultivate a holistic style of processing. In the taste context the authors define holistic processing as nonverbal, imagery-based, and involving narrative processing. The authors conduct qualitative interviews with taste experts (Master Sommeliers) to operationalize the holistic approach to hedonic learning, and then test it against traditional analytic methods in a series of experiments across a range of hedonic products. The results suggest that hedonic learning follows a sequence of stages whose order matters, and that the holistic stage is facilitated by attending to experience as a narrative event and by employing visual imagery. The results of this multimethod investigation have implications for both managers and academics interested in how consumers learn to become expert in hedonic product categories.
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What influences consumers’ preferences for strong versus weak sensory stimuli' In this article, we find converging evidence that when the experience of a romantic crush is salient, consumers have an enhanced preference for options that elicit strong sensory stimulation (e.g., loud music, strongly flavored food). We demonstrate this effect across seven studies using a broad array of products and services as stimuli. We further show that these consumers have a heightened motivation to achieve greater sensations from the desired person, but cannot act in a way that directly satisfies this motivation, leading them to be more likely to turn to products and services for the desired sensations. Moreover, we find that the effect is specific to the experience of a romantic crush and cannot be generalized to other interpersonal experiences (e.g., passionate love, stable romantic relationship, unmet sexual desire).
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