Consuming Now or Later? The Interactive Effect of Timing and Attribute Alignability

Psychological Science, Forthcoming

24 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2004 Last revised: 21 Oct 2012

Selin A. Malkoc

Washington University in Saint Louis - Olin Business School

Gal Zauberman

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department

Canan Ulu

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Abstract

Decisions are often temporally separated from their outcomes. Using theories of structural alignment and temporal construal, we examined how temporal distance and the associated shift in decision processes moderate susceptibility to context effects. Specifically, in two experiments (one hypothetical, one with real outcomes) we demonstrated that people attend relatively more to non-alignable differences when the outcome of the decision is in the distant compared to the near future. We show this shift in decision processes by using preference and choice data as well as coded written protocols. We further show that this temporal shift cannot be explained by differential involvement with the decision or by the feasibility/desirability of the attributes. Our findings establish temporal distance as an important moderator of structural alignment effects, as well as extending the implications of temporal construal theory beyond the characteristics of the attributes to the structural relationships among attributes.

Keywords: Intertemporal Choice, Temporal Construal, Alignability

JEL Classification: D90, M0, M30

Suggested Citation

Malkoc, Selin A. and Zauberman, Gal and Ulu, Canan, Consuming Now or Later? The Interactive Effect of Timing and Attribute Alignability. Psychological Science, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=576363 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.576363

Selin A. Malkoc (Contact Author)

Washington University in Saint Louis - Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States
314-935-4846 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://apps.olin.wustl.edu/faculty/malkoc/

Gal Zauberman

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

Canan Ulu

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

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