The Jilting Effect: Antecedents, Mechanisms, and Consequences for Preference

58 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2017

See all articles by Aaron Garvey

Aaron Garvey

University of Kentucky

Meg Meloy

Pennsylvania State University - Smeal College of Business

Baba Shiv

Stanford University - Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: March 29, 2017

Abstract

This research explores how the experience of a jilt — the anticipation and subsequent inaccessibility of a highly desirable, aspirant option — influences preference for incumbent and non-incumbent options. We conceptualize jilting as a multi-stage process, which consists of a pre-jilt anticipatory phase that is initiated upon the introduction of an aspirant option and a post-jilt phase that is initiated when the aspirant option becomes inaccessible. We show that during the anticipatory phase, a process of denigration specific to the incumbent option is engendered. The subsequent jilt elicits a negative emotional response. During the affectively-charged post-jilt phase, preference shifts away from the now-denigrated incumbent option, yielding a jilting effect. In four field and laboratory studies, we establish this jilting effect, rule out alternative accounts, and discuss the theoretical and managerial implications of our findings.

Keywords: jilting effect, incumbent option, aspirant, dashed hopes, status quo, stock outs

Suggested Citation

Garvey, Aaron and Meloy, Meg and Shiv, Baba, The Jilting Effect: Antecedents, Mechanisms, and Consequences for Preference (March 29, 2017). Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming; Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 17-28. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2942969

Aaron Garvey (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

Meg Meloy

Pennsylvania State University - Smeal College of Business ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

Baba Shiv

Stanford University - Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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