The Effects of Compensatory Inferences for Attributes on the Choice of Incomplete Product Options
9 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2015
Date Written: 2015
Choice options almost always have some information that is unavailable. Some researchers have argued that consumers do not form inferences in these situations, while others have shown that consumers rely on existing attributes to infer missing ones. This paper focuses on what happens to choices for incomplete options when consumers make compensatory inferences in an attempt to balance rival products' attributes. We examine situations in which the incomplete options are inferior on available attributes and missing more or less important attributes. We find that regardless of whether consumers are explicitly prompted to make inferences about missing attributes or they voluntarily make inferences, the mere act of inference making increases the choice of product options that are missing vital attributes. This tendency decreases the potential advantage of product options that have complete attribute information.
Keywords: Inference making, Decision making, Prompted inference, Incomplete options, Missing information, Compensatory inferences
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