Reassurance in Information Acquisition

57 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2021 Last revised: 5 May 2023

See all articles by Jeeva Somasundaram

Jeeva Somasundaram

INSEAD; Fundación Instituto de Empresa, S.L. - IE Business School

Luc Wathieu

Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

Date Written: May 3, 2023

Abstract

To be effective, marketers need insights into the motivational bases of information acquisition. Conventionally, information acquisition is motivated by its instrumental value—the value that consumers derive from adapting their choices in view of new knowledge. In this paper, in contrast, we investigate individual preferences that anticipate elation and disappointment—the emotional responses to good and bad news. Our key finding is that a consumer faced with a (large enough) potential loss of low probability may seek non-instrumental information for the purpose of reassurance. We provide empirical support for this effect and its practical implications, across seven studies (N=3,430) involving exam results disclosure, compound lottery choices, online virtual product trials, COVID-19 testing, and the post-purchase monitoring of technology updates and promotional discounts. Our findings suggest that marketers who want to stimulate consumers to engage with information in the post-purchase phase can play on consumers’ need for reassurance by paradoxically reinforcing their confidence in their choices and sense of commitment.

Keywords: Value of Information, Disappointment Theory, Reassurance, Decision Theory, Behavioral Economics, Consumer Engagement

JEL Classification: C44, D80, D81, D91

Suggested Citation

Somasundaram, Jeeva and Somasundaram, Jeeva and Wathieu, Luc, Reassurance in Information Acquisition (May 3, 2023). Georgetown McDonough School of Business Research Paper No. 3818454, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3818454 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3818454

Jeeva Somasundaram

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

Fundación Instituto de Empresa, S.L. - IE Business School ( email )

Calle Maria de Molina 12, Bajo
Madrid, Madrid 28006
Spain

Luc Wathieu (Contact Author)

Georgetown University McDonough School of Business ( email )

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

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