When It Happened Tells Us What Happened: the Effects of Temporal Distance and Metacognitive Inference on Word-Of-Mouth

Robert Smith, University of Michigan, USA
Norbert Schwarz, University of Michigan, USA
Inferences from WOM information are influenced by metacognitive assumptions, including the assumption that extreme events are better remembered. Consumers read WOM accounts about a negative restaurant experience that happened one year or one week ago. They inferred that the experience was worse (experiment 1) and reported lower intentions to visit the restaurant (experiment 3), when the recalled event was temporally distant rather than recent, despite understanding that recent events are more predictive of current service quality than distant ones (experiment 2). We conclude that consumers draw on others’ memory performance as a source of information and discuss implications for WOM.
[ to cite ]:
Robert Smith and Norbert Schwarz (2010) ,"When It Happened Tells Us What Happened: the Effects of Temporal Distance and Metacognitive Inference on Word-Of-Mouth", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 227-231 .