Preference Construction and Reconstruction
Preferences are frequently used to predict choice and to shape marketing strategy. Market surveys and experiments assessing consumers’ preferences are frequently used to design new products, forecast sales, set prices, and guide promotion and advertising strategy. Most commonly-used procedures to elicit and analyze consumers’ preferences — such as conjoint analysis and other forms of multiattribute evaluation modeling (e.g., Green and Srinivasan 1990; Lynch 1985) — assume that consumers’ preferences are well-defined, articulated, and stable. However, recent research suggests that well-defined, articulated preferences are not always available in memory to serve as a basis for decision making (Coupey, Irwin, and Payne 1998; Payne, Bettman, and Johnson 1992, 1993; Slovic 1995). Instead of consulting a master list of previously-formed preferences stored in memory, decision makers are sometimes required to construct or generate preferences on-line while responding to preference measures (Hastie and Park 1986). The distinction between previously-formed, memory-based preferences versus constructed, on-line preferences is important, because, theoretically, only the former type is predictive of subsequent behavior (Feldman and Lynch 1988; Fischhoff 1991). The goal of the present set of studies is to investigate the conditions under which previously-formed preferences are retrieved from memory, and the conditions under which newly-formed preferences are constructed on-line. We also examine the role of metacognitive processes in reconstructing previously-formed preferences from newly-formed preferences.
KeywordsFalse Memory Consumer Research Frame Condition Constructive Perspective Choice Option
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