Mental Simulation and the Evaluation of New Products: the Affective and Cognitive Dimensions of Process- Versus Outcome-Focused Thoughts

Min Zhao, University of Toronto, Canada
Steve Hoeffler, Vanderbilt University, USA
Gal Zauberman, University of Pennsylvania, USA
In this research we examine the role of process vs. outcome-focused mental simulation in new product evaluation. We first show that consumers naturally focus on product benefits when they evaluate incrementally new products (INPs), but have a more balanced focus on both the benefits and process of using the product for really new products (RNPs). Based on these natural evaluation tendencies, we demonstrate that while evoking process simulation has no impact on RNPs, for INPs it activates the naturally ignored information and leads to a shift in evaluation. Further, we show how manipulating the type of information processing mode (cognitive vs. affective) elicits unique effects within process and outcome simulation on the evaluation of RNPs. The mediating role of performance uncertainty is discussed.
[ to cite ]:
Min Zhao, Steve Hoeffler, and Gal Zauberman (2009) ,"Mental Simulation and the Evaluation of New Products: the Affective and Cognitive Dimensions of Process- Versus Outcome-Focused Thoughts", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 726-727.