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April 30, 2013
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Journal of Consumer Research
Current Issue Highlights

The Countability Effect: Comparative versus Experiential Reactions to Reward Distributions

Jingjing Ma
Neal J. Roese

The effect of inequity on satisfaction -- consumers who are underbenefited are less satisfied than those who are overbenefited -- is robust across many domains. However, various factors may moderate this effect, and a key perspective centers on value sensitivity. Countability (how easily a product or service can be counted using simple whole numbers) feeds into value sensitivity and thus moderates the impact of inequity on satisfaction. When rewards are less easily counted, the effect of inequity on satisfaction is diminished. Further, this effect is rooted to a mechanism in which less countable rewards shift cognitive focus from value comparison to consumption experience. This research contributes to literature on value sensitivity, comparative thinking, numerical information processing, fairness, and happiness.

Volume 39, Number 6, April 2013
DOI: 10.1086/668087


Selected Media Mentions

The Influence of Selective Attention and Inattention to Products on Subsequent Choice

Chris Janiszewski
Andrew Kuo
Nader T. Tavassoli

A fundamental assumption of choice models is that products are valued for the benefits they provide. The only non-benefit-based source of preference is the processing fluency (ease of perceiving, encoding, comprehending, or retrieving information) that results from prior exposure to the product. This research documents an additional source of non-benefit-based "preference formation." Repeatedly allocating attention to a product (selective attention) and away from other products (inattention) subsequently influences choices between these products and competing products. Prior selective attention (inattention) to a product increases the likelihood the product will be selected (rejected) in a subsequent choice. Demonstrating that prior acts of attention can influence subsequent choices has implications for any visually complex environment in which marketers communicate about a brand (banner advertising, packaging). The results also speak to how stimulus-based choices can have enduring consequences.

Volume 39, Number 6, April 2013
DOI: 10.1086/668234


Selected Media Mentions


Fast Company


Science Daily         


Value or attention: Why do consumers prefer familiar products?

Brands as Product Coordinators: Matching Brands Make Joint Consumption Experiences More Enjoyable

Ryan Rahinel
Joseph P. Redden

Consumers often consume multiple products at the same time. Consumers enjoy such joint consumption experiences more when the products are merely labeled with the same brand (vs. different brands). This brand matching effect arises because matching brand labels cue consumer belief that the two products were coordinated through joint testing and design to go uniquely well together. There is no universal answer to which brand a consumer likes the most; it depends on what other brands are consumed with it. More generally, a simple additive model of brand liking cannot fully capture consumption utility; brands interact and influence enjoyment at the level of the brand combination.

Volume 39, Number 6, April 2013
DOI: 10.1086/668525


Selected Media Mentions


Chicago Tribune


Science Daily    


Matching brands: Why do consumers prefer Tostitos salsa with Tostitos tortilla chips?

Frustrated Fatshionistas: An Institutional Theory Perspective on Consumer Quests for Greater Choice in Mainstream Markets

Daiane Scaraboto
Eileen Fischer

Why and how do marginalized consumers mobilize to seek greater inclusion in and more choice from mainstream markets? The authors develop answers to these questions drawing on institutional theory and a qualitative investigation of Fatshionistas, plus-sized consumers who want more options from mainstream fashion marketers. Three triggers for mobilization are posited: development of a collective identity, identification of inspiring institutional entrepreneurs, and access to mobilizing institutional logics from adjacent fields. Several change strategies that reinforce institutional logics while unsettling specific institutionalized practices are identified. The discussion highlights diverse market change dynamics that are likely when consumers are more versus less legitimate in the eyes of mainstream marketers and in instances where the changes consumers seek are more versus less consistent with prevailing institutions and logics.

Volume 39, Number 6, April 2013 
DOI: 10.1086/668298


Selected Media Mentions


New York




Frustrated FATshionistas: How do plus-sized consumers mobilize to demand better clothing options?

Are All Units Created Equal? The Effect of Default Units on Product Evaluations

Christophe Lembregts
Mario Pandelaere

Previous research on attribute framing has shown that consumers often infer higher quantity from larger numbers, usually with the assumption that the units used to specify this information elicit the same meanings. Drawing on literature on categorization and numerical cognition, the authors challenge this assumption and show that consumers often have preset units for attribute levels that strike an optimal balance between a preference for small numbers and the need for accuracy. As such, these default units appear commonly. Specifying positive attributes in default units renders product evaluation more favorable, even if such specification lowers the nominal value of the attributes. This effect disappears if consumers attribute metacognitive feelings generated by default units to an irrelevant source. A default unit effect is more likely in single evaluation mode, but a numerosity effect may reemerge in joint evaluations.


Volume 39, Number 6, April 2013


Selected Media Mentions



Do consumers evaluate cell phones differently if the warranty is expressed in years or days?



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