Specification Seeking: How Product Specifications Influence Consumer Preference
Christopher K. Hsee
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business
Carnegie Mellon University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - Antai College of Economics and Management; London Business School
Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - Antai College of Economics and Management
October 21, 2008
Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 35, 2009
We offer a framework about when and how specifications (e.g., megapixels of a camera and number of air bags in a massage chair) influence consumer preferences and report five studies that test the framework. Studies 1-3 show that even when consumers can directly experience the relevant products and the specifications carry little or no new information, their preference is still influenced by specifications, including specifications that are self-generated and by definition spurious and specifications that the respondents themselves deem uninformative. Studies 4 and 5 show that relative to choice, hedonic preference (liking) is more stable and less influenced by specifications.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: specifiication, consumer preference, decision
JEL Classification: D81, D11, D12, D91
Date posted: October 27, 2008
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