Consuming Experiences Shift Standards Through Attentional Collapse

Carey K. Morewedge, Princeton University, USA
Daniel T. Gilbert, Harvard University, USA
Kristian O. R. Myerseth, University of Chicago, USA
Timothy Wilson, University of Virginia, USA
In five studies, participants forecasted how much they would enjoy a future experience (e.g., eating potato chips) or had that experience (e.g., ate potato chips). Hedonic forecasts were strongly affected by the presence of a superior alternative (e.g., chocolate) or an inferior alternative (e.g., sardines), but hedonic experiences were unaffected in three studies—experiencers were happy eating potato chips irrespective of the present alternative. In our forth and fifth studies, hedonic experiences were affected by present alternatives only when hedonic experiences required few attentional resources. The results suggest that forecasters underestimate the extent to which hedonic experiences "consume" attention and render alternatives irrelevant.
[ to cite ]:
Carey K. Morewedge, Daniel T. Gilbert, Kristian O. R. Myerseth, and Timothy Wilson (2008) ,"Consuming Experiences Shift Standards Through Attentional Collapse", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 89-92.