How Inferences About Missing Attributes Decrease the Tendency to Defer Choice and Increase Purchase Probability
15 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2015
Date Written: Feb 2009
Most purchases involve choices among options with incomplete attribute information. In such situations, consumers often have the option not to choose any of the alternatives to avoid uncertainty. Alternatively, consumers can make inferences about the missing attributes. These inferences may occur spontaneously, or they may be strategically prompted. In five studies, it is shown that both explicitly and implicitly prompting consumers to make inferences about the missing attributes reduces the tendency to select the no-choice option and increases the likelihood of making a purchase decision. In parallel, consumers who generate spontaneous inferences are also less likely to defer their choices.
Keywords: inference making, missing information, missing attribute, choice deferral, choice, preference, uncertainty, decision making
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