Journal of Consumer Research
March 20, 2012





Featured Media Mentions 
JCR Cover

Journal of Consumer Research
Ahead of Print Highlights

Warm It Up with Love: The Effect of Physical Coldness on Liking of Romance Movies

Jiewen Hong
Yacheng Sun

Are romance movies more desirable when people are cold? Building on research on (bodily) feeling-as-information and embodied cognition, the authors hypothesize that physical coldness activates a need for psychological warmth, which in turn leads to an increased liking for romance movies. Four laboratory experiments and an analysis of online movie rental data provide support for the hypothesis. Specifically, studies 1A and 1B show that physical coldness increases the liking of and willingness to pay for romance movies. Study 2 shows that the effect of physical coldness on liking of romance movies only occurs for people who associate romance movies with psychological warmth. Study 3 shows that people correct for the influence of physical coldness on their liking of romance movies when physical coldness is made salient. In study 4, using data on online movie rentals and historical temperature, the authors found a negative relationship between weather temperature and preference for romance movies.


DOI: 10.1086/662613
Electronically published October 7, 2011

Selected Media Mentions

Psychology: Movies That Warm Us
Wall Street Journal

Cold Weather Makes Us Want to Watch Rom-Coms
Today Show

Feeling Cold May Put You In The Mood For A Romance Movie, Study Shows
The Huffington Post

When Cold, We Want Romance (Movies)

Why you buy what you buy and when
CBC News

Do cold consumers like to warm up to romance movies?

The Temporal and Focal Dynamics of Volitional Reconsumption: A Phenomenological Investigation of Repeated Hedonic Experiences

Cristel Antonia Russell
Sidney J. Levy

Volitional reconsumption refers to experiences that consumers actively and consciously seek to experience again. Phenomenological interviews centered on the rereading of books, the rewatching of movies, and the revisiting of geographic places reveal the temporal and focal dimensions of hedonic volitional reconsumption phenomenon and five dominant categories therein. Consumers navigate within and between reconsumption experiences in a hyperresponsive and experientially controlled manner. The dynamics in time and focus fueled by the reconsumed object allow emotional efficiency, as consumers optimize the search for and attainment of the emotional outcomes sought in volitional reconsumption, and facilitate existential understanding, as the linkages across past, present, and future experiences enable an active synthesis of time and promote self-reflexivity. Consumers gain richer and deeper insights into the reconsumption object itself but also an enhanced awareness of their own growth in understanding and appreciation through the lens of the reconsumption object.


DOI: 10.1086/662996
Electronically published October 28, 2011

Decision Quicksand: How Trivial Choices Suck Us In

Aner Sela
Jonah Berger

People often get unnecessarily mired in trivial decisions. Four studies support a metacognitive account for this painful phenomenon. The central premise is that people use subjective experiences of difficulty while making a decision as a cue to how much further time and effort to spend. People generally associate important decisions with difficulty. Consequently, if a decision feels unexpectedly difficult, due to even incidental reasons, people may draw the reverse inference that it is also important and consequently increase the amount of time and effort they expend. Ironically, this process is particularly likely for decisions that initially seemed unimportant because people expect them to be easier (whereas important decisions are expected to be difficult to begin with). The studies demonstrate that unexpected difficulty not only causes people to get caught up in unimportant decisions but also to voluntarily seek more options, which can increase decision difficulty even further.


DOI: 10.1086/662997
Electronically published October 27, 2011

How and Why 1 Year Differs from 365 Days: A Conversational Logic Analysis of Inferences from the Granularity of Quantitative Expressions

Y. Charles Zhang
Norbert Schwarz

The same quantity can be expressed at different levels of granularity, for example, "1 year," "12 months," or "365 days." Consumers attend to the granularity chosen by a communicator and draw pragmatic inferences that influence judgment and choice. They consider estimates expressed in finer granularity more precise and have more confidence in their accuracy (studies 1-4). This effect is eliminated when consumers doubt that the communicator complies with Gricean norms of cooperative conversational conduct (studies 2-3). Based on their pragmatic inferences, consumers perceive products as more likely to deliver on their promises when the promise is described in fine-grained rather than coarse terms and choose accordingly (study 4). These findings highlight the role of pragmatic inferences in consumer judgment and have important implications for the design of marketing communications.


DOI: 10.1086/662612
Electronically published October 7, 2011

Selected Media Mentions 

'This Laptop's Battery Lasts 500 Minutes'
Wall Street Journal

Why 'one year' and '365 days' leave different impressions on consumers
ANI News

How does 365 days (instead of 1 year) affect consumer decision making?
Cowboy Economics

Why 'one year' and '365 days' leave different impressions on consumers
Sify News

How does 365 days (instead of 1 year) affect consumer decision making?

How Economic Contractions and Expansions Affect Expenditure Patterns

Wagner A. Kamakura
Rex Yuxing Du

In this study, the authors attempt to understand how household budget allocations across various expenditure categories change when the economy is in recession or expansion. The common assumption is that a household's tastes would not change as a function of economic conditions and therefore any adjustments in expenditure patterns during economic contractions/expansions would simply be due to changes in the consumption budget. Standard economic models translate these budgetary effects into lateral movements along a set of fixed Engel curves, which relate category expenditure shares to total expenditures. The authors propose and test a conceptual framework based on the notion of relative consumption, which prescribes that, for any given total consumption budget, expenditure shares for positional goods/services will decrease during a recession, while shares for nonpositional goods/services will increase (i.e., shifting the entire Engel curve upward or downward, depending on the nature of the expenditure category and the economic conditions).


Pankaj Aggarwal
Ann L. Mcgill

This research examines automatic behavioral effects of priming brands that are anthropomorphized. It posits that anthropomorphized brands trigger people's goals for a successful social interaction, resulting in behavior that is assimilative or contrastive to the brand's image. Three studies show that consumers are more likely to assimilate behavior associated with anthropomorphized partner brands that they like, consistent with the goal of drawing in the liked coproducer, and servant brands that they dislike, consistent with the goal of pushing the disliked would-be helper away by signaling self-sufficiency. Results also show a contrastive behavior when primed with disliked partner brands and liked servant brands. These effects are observed in contexts unrelated to the brand prime. For example, priming Kellogg's, a liked partner brand associated with healthfulness, led to greater willingness to take the stairs than the elevator in a purportedly unrelated study. No effects were observed of priming brands that were not anthropomorphized.


DOI: 10.1086/662614
Electronically published October 7, 2011

Selected Media Mentions

How Mr. Bubble Got Kids to Take Baths

If Doughnuts Could Talk They'd Tell You To Take The Elevator Instead Of The Stairs
Medical News Today

If doughnuts could talk they'd tell you to take the elevator instead of the stairs

Seeing brands as people can influence our social behaviours
ANI News

If doughnuts could talk they'd tell you to take the elevator instead of the stairs

"I Don't" versus "I Can't": When Empowered Refusal Motivates Goal-Directed Behavior

Vanessa M. Patrick
Henrik Hagtvedt

This research is based on the insight that the language consumers use to explain their choices serves as a feedback mechanism that either enhances or impedes goal-directed behavior. Specifically, the authors investigate the influence of a linguistic element of self-talk, in which a refusal may be framed as "I don't" (vs. "I can't"), on resisting temptation and motivating goal-directed behavior. The authors present a set of four studies to demonstrate the efficacy of the "don't" (vs. "can't") framing (studies 1-3) when the source of the goal is internal (vs. external; studies 2A and 2B), as well as the mediating role of psychological empowerment (studies 1, 2A, and 2B). The authors demonstrate this novel and effective refusal strategy with actual choice (study 1) and with behavioral intent (studies 2A and 2B) and also illustrate its applicability in the real world in a longitudinal intervention-based field study (study 3).  


DOI: 10.1086/663212
Electronically published November 8, 2011

A Goal-Based Model of Product Evaluation and Choice

Stijn M. J. van Osselaer
Chris Janiszewski

The authors propose a goal-based model of product evaluation and choice. The model is intended to account for the role of momentary goal activations in relatively straightforward product evaluation and choice processes. It contributes by (a) providing a coherent and consistent account for goal-based product evaluations/choices, (b) providing a theory of the way goal activation influences product evaluation and choice, and (c) generating predictions about novel phenomena, moderators, and boundary conditions in the area of goal-based product evaluations and choices.


DOI: 10.1086/662643
Electronically published October 24, 2011

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