When Uncertainty Brings Pleasure: the Role of Outcome Imageability and Mental Imagery

Cheng Qiu, University of Hong Kong, China
Yih Hwai Lee, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Consumers generally prefer certainty to uncertainty, and as such often shun away from uncertain situations. Our research, however, demonstrates that consumers facing uncertainty (than certainty) associated with a future positive event (e.g., winning a lucky draw but not knowing the particular prize won) can experience greater, non-fleeting positive feelings. We further uncover the mechanism underlying such effect. Specifically, the durability of the pleasurable uncertainty effect hinges on the level of imagery elaboration that consumers generate from the various possible favorable outcomes (e.g., imagining the possible prizes in a lucky draw). Results from two experiments provide support for our framework.
[ to cite ]:
Cheng Qiu and Yih Hwai Lee (2008) ,"When Uncertainty Brings Pleasure: the Role of Outcome Imageability and Mental Imagery", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 690-691.