Sauder marketing researcher JoAndrea Hoegg discovered that experts with specific product knowledge can make mistakes when relying on their memories to compare complex goods – especially when they feel compelled to explain how they arrive at their decisions.
“Ours results suggest that when experts use their memories to compare products with numerous features, such as cameras, cars and computers, they often falsely recall information and fill in gaps with prior knowledge,” says Asst. Prof. Hoegg, who co-wrote the paper for the Journal of Consumer Research with Sauder PhD student Ravi Mehta and New York University marketing professor Amitav Chakravarti.
The researchers found that when asked for help with purchase decisions, those deemed in the know feel obliged to provide detailed explanations about how they arrived at their recommendations. And that a feeling of accountability and pressure to give the best recommendations can lead to false recalls, according to the study.
“People who identify themselves as experts feel the need to compare brands across all of the available features,” explains Hoegg. “And when some of the features are not comparable, their extra effort leads them to insert information from memory, which reduces the quality of their conclusions.”
The researchers conducted an experiment with 113 undergraduate students who were given lists of features for two fictitious brands of videogame consoles. Half of the features were directly comparable and half were not. For example, online gaming was listed for one brand and nothing about online gaming was indicated for the second.
Participants were allowed two minutes to study the lists of options for the video game consoles. They were then provided an unrelated questionnaire created to assess their level of videogame console expertise.
After a delay of 20 minutes, the subjects were given a test which required them to recall the lists of features which they had been provided for each console brand.
Finally, they were given a questionnaire designed to measure their feelings of accountability, asking them to rate their reactions to statements, such as, “I was concerned about the possibility of making a mistake.”
The results show that the participants who scored high on the questionnaire rating their level of expertise about videogame consoles also had the highest percentages of false recalls of product feature information.
They also demonstrated that the false recalls were being driven by the higher sense of responsibility felt by experts, as those who made a greater number of false recalls also reported the highest levels of accountability for their decisions.
Furthermore, in a similar experiment in the study, the researchers discovered that when experts are relieved of their sense of accountability and do not feel the need to provide detailed explanations about their judgments, they made fewer false recalls.
“If you’re turning to a product expert for advice,” says Hoegg, “it’s important that they have access to all of the information they need to make their decisions, and that you let them know that it won’t be the end of the world if they make a mistake.”
Lorraine Chan | EurekAlert!
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research