Background Goals in the Foreground: the Overriding Effect of Nonconscious Goals on Consumer Choice

Hae Joo Kim, University of Toronto, Canada
Andrew A. Mitchell, University of Toronto, Canada
We investigate whether a background or nonconscious goal can override a simultaneously active focal or conscious goal and alter choice under the guise of a taste test. When participants are only given a focal goal of taste, the majority of them choose the alternative that contains the pure contents of an existing market product. However, when the goal of being healthy is nonconsciously activated, the majority of the participants choose an inferior alternative whose label implies health. Contrary to their behavior, virtually all of the participants who were primed with a background goal give reasons for their choice that are consistent to their focal goal.
[ to cite ]:
Hae Joo Kim and Andrew A. Mitchell (2008) ,"Background Goals in the Foreground: the Overriding Effect of Nonconscious Goals on Consumer Choice", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 665-666.