The Glass Is Both Half Full and Half Empty: the Strategic Use of Mixed Counterfactual Thoughts.

Christina I. Anthony, The University of Sydney, Australia
Elizabeth Cowley, The University of Sydney, Australia
How do people convince themselves to repeatedly engage in consumption activities that often result in negative outcomes, without apparent regard for these past experiences? The purpose of this research is to examine how mixed counterfactuals may contribute to our understanding of potentially dysfunctional consumer behaviors such as gambling. Using a simulated poker machine game, we demonstrate that frequent gamblers, unlike infrequent gamblers, generate mixed counterfactuals in response to their outcomes. This potentially dysfunctional use of counterfactual thoughts enables the frequent gambler to gloss over a loss and devalue a win leaving the glass half full and half empty.
[ to cite ]:
Christina I. Anthony and Elizabeth Cowley (2009) ,"The Glass Is Both Half Full and Half Empty: the Strategic Use of Mixed Counterfactual Thoughts.", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 664-665.