Using Process-Focused Vs. Outcome-Focused Thought to Enhance Consumer Judgment

Jennifer Escalas, Vanderbilt University, USA
Mary Frances Luce, Duke University, USA
While it is crucially important for consumers to make good decisions, decades of research suggests that it is unrealistic to expect all segments of consumers to engage in effortful cognitive processing. We propose that process-focused mental simulation can enhance the judgments of consumer segments that resist effortful processing, because the beneficial effects of process-focused thought can be obtained without increases in cognitive effort. We report two studies testing the efficacy of process-focused thought in segments with a low tendency to elaborate due to deficits in motivation. We find that low-motivation consumers make more beneficial choices following process- (versus outcome-) focused mental simulation. This differential advantage does not exist for consumers who are motivated to elaborate.
[ to cite ]:
Jennifer Escalas and Mary Frances Luce (2010) ,"Using Process-Focused Vs. Outcome-Focused Thought to Enhance Consumer Judgment ", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 57-59 .