Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The grass isn't greener

09.08.2007
How quests for improvement can cause us to lose sight of the value of current choices

There are many consumer decisions that we have to make over and over again, such as selecting a restaurant to eat at in our neighborhood or deciding which store to shop at for groceries. The repetitive nature of these decisions provides us with the opportunity to learn from past choices and improve our future choices. However, new research from the August issue of the Journal of Consumer Research shows that our quest for improvement may result in a failure to appreciate the value of our current choice.

In a series of eight experiments, Tom Meyvis (New York University) and Alan Cooke (University of Florida) find that when consumers expect to make similar choices in the future, they selectively pay attention to information that suggests that an alternative would be better. These consumers also tend to disregard information that indicates their current choice is the best possible choice.

“Our findings suggest that consumers who are focused on the future are so preoccupied with finding ways to improve their situation that they become overly sensitive to information that points to such opportunities — and lose sight of the relative advantages of their current choice,” the authors explain.

For example, Meyvis and Cooke asked study participants to choose among three stores on a series of simulated shopping trips. After each trip, they were shown the price charged for a product at their chosen store and the prices charged at each of the other two stores.

After going on a series of shopping trips, participants were then asked to indicate which store was the cheapest and whether they would want to switch to another store for a second set of shopping trips.

Notably, the investigators found that when participants were told in advance that they would make a second set of shopping trips, they were less likely to prefer the store they initially chose and more likely to switch to another store after the first set of trips. In addition, they also thought the store they chose was the most expensive fifty percent more of the time. This phenomenon was replicated in later studies even when the chosen store was less expensive than the other two stores.

In contrast, participants who did not expect to have to make a second choice accurately recalled an equal number of trips on which the chosen store was cheaper or more expensive.

“Ironically, participants who were preparing for future decisions, and should therefore be more motivated to learn from their past choices, were less likely to realize that they had selected the cheapest store and were more likely to switch to other, more expensive stores,” the authors write.

Additional evidence suggests that consumers who anticipate future choices selectively search for ways to improve their current situation and disproportionately pay attention to better prices at other stores.

As the authors explain, “As a result, forward looking consumers overestimate how green the grass is on the other side of the fence, leading them to abandon their chosen store for an often objectively inferior alternative.”

Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchicago.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns
25.07.2017 | University of Portsmouth

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>