Conditional Projection: How Own Evaluations Influence Beliefs About Others Whose Choices are Known
Journal of Marketing Research, 50(1), 111-124, 2012
36 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2016
Date Written: 2012
The authors study how a person’s evaluation of choice options influences his or her estimates of other people’s evaluations when their choices are known. The study shows that people rely on the relationship between their own evaluations and their final decision to make sense of others, projecting their evaluations of the corresponding options. A person’s liking of the option he or she chose between two alternatives influences the person’s estimates of others’ liking of the option they chose, regardless of whether it matches his or her own choice. Likewise, a person’s evaluation of the rejected option affects his or her estimate of others’ evaluations of the option they rejected. Across four studies, the authors provide evidence of conditional projection in political and consumer decisions, using across-people differences in ratings of choice options, within-person changes in ratings, and manipulated differences in participants’ ratings. The authors also demonstrate that existing accounts of projection do not directly predict these findings and rule out other alternative explanations.
Keywords: beliefs, inferences, social projection, egocentrism, politics
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