Irrelevant Information and Mediated Intertemporal Choice

Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2004

47 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2004

See all articles by Stijn M. J. van Osselaer

Stijn M. J. van Osselaer

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Joseph W. Alba

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration

Puneet Manchanda

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Abstract

Results from four experiments suggest that currencies such as loyalty-program points are overvalued. Different allocations of the same quantity of points across the same number of purchases (e.g., 100 points for each first, 200 for each second, 300 for each third purchase vs. 200 for each first, second, and third purchase) yielded irrelevant trends and should have led participants to ignore loyalty points as a basis for choice. However, choices were influenced by points even when consumers were provided with other truly discriminating information (e.g., price) and the irrelevance of the loyalty points was readily discernable. This implies that irrelevant information can influence choice when other, easily justifiable bases for decisions are available and, therefore, that irrelevant information can function as more than a tie-breaker. Other implications for research on irrelevant attributes, medium effects, intertemporal choice, and loyalty programs are discussed.

Keywords: medium effects, loyalty programs, frequent flyer programs, intertemporal choice, distributed choice, choice over time, dual-process, associative influence, medium maximization, sequences of outcomes

JEL Classification: D1, D9, M3

Suggested Citation

van Osselaer, Stijn M. J. and Alba, Joseph W. and Manchanda, Puneet, Irrelevant Information and Mediated Intertemporal Choice. Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=462621

Stijn M. J. Van Osselaer (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Joseph W. Alba

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration ( email )

Gainesville, FL 32611
United States

Puneet Manchanda

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States
734-936-2445 (Phone)
734-936-8716 (Fax)

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