Predicting the Attitudes, Interests, and Opinions of the Average American Consumer: Has Anything Changed in the Last Quarter Century?
52 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 23, 2014
Over 25 years ago Hoch (1988) found that every day consumers performed poorly at predicting the attitudes, interests, and opinions (AIO) of average Americans. We examined whether every day consumers’ predictive accuracy has changed in any substantive way since then, given the massive increase in data available about others through specialized and targeted media sources, social media, and user generated content. We compared the predictive accuracy of a representative sample of consumers to two groups commonly used by academic researchers: undergraduate students and workers on Mechanical Turk, and examined whether accuracy was higher for general interest questions than for AIO questions. We found that every day consumers now have less valid outside information and make less accurate predictions for AIO questions than in the past. Accuracy was higher for general interest questions. Undergraduate students and Turkers were as accurate in their predictions as a representative sample consumers.
Keywords: Prediction, Projection, mTurk, Student subjects
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