Not in My Backyard: The Influence of Arbitrary Boundaries on Consumer Choice
Carnegie Mellon University
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; New York University (NYU); New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing
University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychiatry
November 26, 2007
The present research demonstrates that symbolic boundaries such as political borders act as psychological buffers. Across six experiments (N = 583) we demonstrate that consumers prefer to avoid crossing a town border to reach a store (experiments 1 and 2), even when no visual cues are provided (experiment 3). Furthermore, consumers feel safer when protected by a political border (experiment 4), even when that border clearly confers no real protection (experiments 5). Finally, we demonstrate that the psychological distance provided by borders also acts to isolate consumers from favorable objects (experiment 6). We rule out alternative explanations for this effect including visual illusions, perceptions of distance, halo effects, and categorization effects.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: boundaries, borders, decision making, contagionworking papers series
Date posted: October 27, 2010
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