Variety, Vice, and Virtue: How Assortment Size Influences Option Choice
University of Florida - Marketing Department
Jonah A. Berger
University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management
June 24, 2008
Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 35, No. 6, pp. 941-951, April 2009
Research has demonstrated that assortment size can influence whether consumers make a choice, but could it also influence what they choose? Five studies demonstrate that because choosing from larger assortments is often more difficult, it leads people to select options that are easier to justify. Virtues and utilitarian necessities are generally easier to justify than indulgences, and consequently, choosing from larger assortments often shifts choice from vices to virtues and from hedonic to utilitarian options. These effects reverse, however, when situational factors provide accessible reasons to indulge, underscoring the role of justification. Implications for choice difficulty, justification processes, and decision making more broadly are discussed.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 11Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 25, 2008 ; Last revised: March 13, 2013
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