Why consumers feel confident about some choices

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Washington, May 19 (ANI): The confidence of consumers when making a choice depends on how easy the choice seems and whether the person making the choice is thinking concretely or abstractly, according to experts.

Claire I. Tsai from University of Toronto and Ann L. McGill from University of Chicago, the authors of the study, insist that abstract thinking and concrete thinking determine the theory consumers adopt to interpret their subjective experiences.

They wrote: "We found that subjective feelings of ease experienced during judgments (e.g., choosing a digital camera, art, movie, or charity) can increase or decrease consumers' confidence in their choice and the amount of donation depending on whether consumers are thinking, respectively, concretely or abstractly.

"Consider, for example, the feeling of difficulty one experiences when studying for an exam. The subjective experience of difficulty can lead to a feeling of high confidence, providing this difficulty is interpreted as effort put forth to ensure a good grade. On the other hand, the same subjective experience can lead to feeling very low confidence about the grade, if processing difficulty is interpreted as inability to process the study materials."

The authors conducted three experiments using a sample of 750 participants. They tested a variety of product categories: electronic products, art, movies, and charitable giving. They manipulated ease of processing by varying the clarity of print advertisements or the number of thoughts participants were asked to generate to explain their choices. In addition, they manipulated abstract and concrete thinking by asking participants to consider issues that weren't related to the product categories.

The experts added: "Specifically, we induced abstract thinking (or concrete thinking) by asking participants to focus on the why (or how) aspects of an event.

"As predicted, we found that when consumers are thinking more concretely and focusing on details of product information, ease of processing-making a choice based on a clear ad or a few reasons-increases confidence.

"Difficulty of processing-making a choice based on a blurry ad or having to generate many reasons to explain one's choice-decreases confidence."

The study has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research. (ANI)

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