How Inferences About Missing Attributes Decrease the Tendency to Defer Choice and Increase Purchase Probability

15 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2015

See all articles by Kunter Gunasti

Kunter Gunasti

Washington State University

William T. Ross

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Marketing

Date Written: Feb 2009

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Gunasti, Kunter and Ross, William T., How Inferences About Missing Attributes Decrease the Tendency to Defer Choice and Increase Purchase Probability (Feb 2009). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 35, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2573808

Kunter Gunasti (Contact Author)

Washington State University ( email )

386 Todd Addition
Carson School of Business
Pullman, WA Whitman 99164
United States
5093354833 (Phone)

William T. Ross

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Marketing ( email )

University Park, PA 16802-3306
United States

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