The Jilting Effect: Antecedents, Mechanisms, and Consequences for Preference
Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming
58 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 29, 2017
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
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