Walking the Hedonic Product Treadmill: Default Contrast and Mood-Based Assimilation in Judgments of Predicted Happiness with a Target Product
14 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2009
Date Written: February 9, 2009
Consumers often browse through many products (a product context) before evaluating a particular target product. We examine the influence of four product context characteristics on happiness with a target product: pleasantness, sequence, domain match with target (i.e., whether products in the context set belong to the same category as the target), and context set size. When context and target match, pleasant and improving (compared to less pleasant and worsening) contexts induce less happiness with the target product. When there is domain mismatch, however, the results are reversed. Furthermore, the assimilation effects are significantly influenced by set size, but the contrast effects are not. While the contrast effects appear to occur by default and appear to be driven by a process of comparison, the assimilation effects appear to be driven by mood. These effects hold even when perception of domain match is manipulated via instructional framing.
Keywords: context effects, assimilation, contrast effects, sequential decision making, framing
JEL Classification: C91, D12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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