Same Destination, Different Paths: When and How Does Observing Others' Choices and Reasoning Alter Confidence in Our Own Choices?

Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2012

Mays Business School Research Paper No. 2012-63

17 Pages Posted: 16 May 2012

See all articles by Cait Poynor Lamberton

Cait Poynor Lamberton

University of Pennsylvania

Rebecca Walker Reczek

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Marketing and Logistics

Kelly Haws

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Seeing others make the same decision we do does not always increase choice confidence or tell the whole story of social influence when consumers expect to have to publically discuss their choice and reasoning. Instead, consumers' confidence in their publically stated choices can be diminished if observed others make the same choice but justify the choice using different reasoning. This effect occurs because confidence in one's own reasoning is thrown into doubt, rather than due to a desire to affiliate with the observed other. These effects are eliminated in both private choice contexts and in rejection versus selection tasks.

Keywords: Social influence, Reasoning, Choice confidence, Social comparison, Reason-based choice, Public versus private behavior

Suggested Citation

Lamberton, Cait Poynor and Reczek, Rebecca Walker and Haws, Kelly, Same Destination, Different Paths: When and How Does Observing Others' Choices and Reasoning Alter Confidence in Our Own Choices? (2012). Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2012; Mays Business School Research Paper No. 2012-63. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2061291

Cait Poynor Lamberton (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Marketing Department
Philadelphia, PA
United States

Rebecca Walker Reczek

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Marketing and Logistics ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
538 Fisher Hall
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Kelly Haws

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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