Conditioned Superstition: Desire for Control and Consumer Brand Preferences
Eric J. Hamerman
Tulane University - A.B. Freeman School of Business
Columbia Business School - Marketing
March 20, 2013
Journal of Consumer Research, Forthcoming
Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 13-12
There are many opportunities in everyday life to associate consumer products with success or failure. For example, when a basketball fan drinks a particular brand of soda while watching her favorite team win a game, she may perceive that this consumption facilitated the victory. Subsequently, the fan may continue to purchase and consume this same item during future games, in an attempt to help the team. This behavior is labeled as “conditioned superstition.” Data from five experiments indicates that preference for lucky products (i.e., those associated with positive outcomes) increases with higher levels of desire for control combined with lower levels of perceived ability to control outcomes (e.g., low generalized self-efficacy). People who express a preference for these lucky products form an illusion of control over future outcomes, so that they perceive superstitious behavior to be an effective strategy to achieve the desired result.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 56
Date posted: March 21, 2013
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