Session 4 Working Papers

[ to cite ]:
(1997) ,"Session 4 Working Papers", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 24, eds. Merrie Brucks and Deborah J. MacInnis, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 112-120.

Advances in Consumer Research, Volume 24, 1997      Pages 112-120

SESSION 4

WORKING PAPERS

 

THE IMPACT OF CONTEXTUALITY ON EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH IN CONSUMER BEHAVIOR

Jean Perrien, University of QuTbec at MontrTal

Sylvie Paradis, University of QuTbec at MontrTal

This paper explores a new way of explaining result discrepancies between experiments in consumer and marketing research. Following a framework developed by Cronbach (1986), it is argued that contextuality is probably one explanation to conflicting results observed by experimenters in consumer research. A case study is made with two classic experiments: Gorn (1982) and Kellaris and Cox (1989) replications of it. It is demonstrated that on three dimensions of contextuality, these two experiments are quite different. Implications of this situation on building and consumer research are also discussed.

 

STIMULUS GENERALIZATION IN CLASSICAL CONDITIONING: AN INITIAL INVESTIGATION

Brian D. Till, Saint Louis University

Randi Prilvek Grossman, Yeshiva University

Growing interest in the classical conditioning of attitudes towards brands has led to examination of areas such as second-order conditioning, backward conditioning, and latent inhibition/CS pre-exposure. This study examines stimulus generalization-the extent to which a conditioned response (e.g., a favorably conditioned attitude) transfers to a similar stimulus (e.g., a brand name). Conditioning trials (15 conditioning pairings) generated a favorable attitude toward Garra mouthwash. Subjects in both conditioning and random control groups also evaluated other brands. The results support stimulus generalization. Attitude toward a similar name (Gurra) in the same category (mouthwash) was greater in the conditioning than the control group. The difference between the conditioning and control group was marginally for the same name (Garra) in a different category (soap). No differences were found between conditioning and control groups for a different name (Dutti) in the same category or a different name in a different category.

 

PERSPECTIVISM: A RESPONSE TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE DEBATE IN CONSUMER RESEARCH

Per Ostergaard, Odense University

A. Fuat Firat, Odense University

There has been a heated debate about epistemology in consumer research during the 1980’s and the early 1990’s that seems to be in a lull. In this debate there were two camps represented by a logical empiricist and a humanistic/ relativistic position. It is shown how both sides omit fundamentalepistemological concepts like power and contextualization in their approach. It is the argument that this omission creates the debate and keeping it away from a solution. Perspectivisim as an epistemological concept is introduced. It is argued that this approach can bring the debate further beyond the mere quarrel for or against objectivity/relativism.

 

THE BOGUS ADVERTISING SIMULATOR: A NEW METHOD OF ELICITING LAY PEOPLES’ IMPLICIT THEORIES OF ADVERTISING

Mats Georgson, The University of Connecticut

How do lay people think advertising works? How would lay people design advertising if they had a chance? In this study, an unconventional method, inspired by ethnomethodology, was used to investigate these broad questions. A computer program posing as an advertising simulator was used by the subjects, who could design commercials by selecting features on a plethora of menus. Thereafter, random "measurements of advertising performance" were presented, and the subjects were invited to try to explain why their ads "did like they did". Although the results are still under analysis, the research procedure proved extremely generative.

 

THINKING INTO IT: CONSUMER INTERPRETATION OF COMPLEX ADVERTISING IMAGES

Barbara J. Phillips, University of Saskatchewan

This study tests a new conceptualization that characterizes complex advertising images as figures of rhetoric from which consumers infer advertising messages. Results of this qualitative study, where informants drew inferences from six ads containing pictorial metaphors, support the conceptualization of advertising images as sources of information. Informants easily drew both shared, primary inferences and multiple, secondary inferences solely from the images in the ads. Informant responses also provided insight into the inference process, illustrating how cultural, product, and advertising knowledge helps consumers draw inferences and receive pleasure from interpreting images.

 

GENDER ISSUES IN THE LANGUAGE USED IN TELEVISION ADVERTISING

Nancy Artz, University of Southern Maine

Jeanne Munger, University of Southern Maine

The portrayal of gender in advertising has received considerable attention over the last several decades, although there is a void in the research on issues relating to gender bias in the language of advertising. This investigation is thus designed to explore the incorporation of gender in broadcast advertising language. Although the majority of ads did not exhibit gender bias, gender bias occurs. Bias is more evident in ad pictures than in ad language and is more evident in songs, dialogue or when popular culture is involved than in formal speech.

 

EFFECTS OF COLOR AS AN EXECUTIONAL CUE: THEY’RE IN THE SHADE

Gerald J. Gorn, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Amitava Chattopadhyay, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Tracey Yi, University of British Columbia

Darren W. Dahl, University of British Columbia

In designing print ads, one of the decisions the advertiser must make is which color(s) to use as executional cues in the ad. Typically, color decisions are based on intuition and anecdotal evidence. To provide guidelines for these decisions, this research proposes and tests a conceptual framework linking the hue, chroma, and value of the color(s) in an ad to consumers’ feelings and attitudes. In an experimental study, the three dimensions of color used in an ad are manipulted using a between subjects design. The results support the hypotheses that ads containing colors with a higher level of value lead to greater liking for the ad, and this effect is mediated by the greater feelings of relaxation elicited by the higher value color. Feelings play an equally important role in the effect of chroma. Consistent with the hypotheses, higher levels of chroma elicit greater feelings of excitement, which in turn increase ad likability.

 

THE EFFECTS OF THEME-BASED INCONGRUENCY ON AD AND BRAND ATTITUDES

Yih Hwai Lee, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Charlotte H. Mason, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

This study investigated the effects of ad information expectancy and relevancy on ad and brand evaluations. The definitions of expectancy and relevancy follows extant research (Heckler and Childers 1992). More positive ad and brand attitudes were found for ads with unexpected than expected pictorial information. The reverse was found when the pictures were irrelevant in nature. The effects of humor on ad and brand attitudes were also studied within the incongruency framework. The results indicated that the augmenting effect of humor on attitudes was attenuated by the nature of the information incongruency. Implications of the findings are discussed and suggestions for future research furnished.

 

ATTITUDE RESISTANCE IN LOW INVOLVEMENT ADVERTISING SITUATIONS

Jaideep Sengupta, University of California, Los Angeles

Advertising researchers often use the initial product attitude evoked by the advertisement as a measure of ad effectiveness. However, in today’s marketplace, consumers get exposed to a number of competing ads and brands in every product category. Further, the use of such attack tactics as negative advertising and comparative advertising is on the increase. It is therefore important to study the issued of attitude resistance, which may be defined as the degree to which an initial attitude can resist an attack. Prior research on this outcome suggests that attitude resistance is generally associated with high involvement processing, even though advertising is more often processed as a low involvement communication. We hypothesize that attitude resistance may be obtained in low involvement contexts when the primary cue contained in an ad is relevant to the product category being evaluated. Consistent with this hypothesis, results from two preliminary studies provide some indication that under low involvement, though both relevant and irrelevant cues evoke similar initial attitudes, only when the cue is relevant do attitudes successfully resist negative information about the product.

 

CAUSE-RELATED MARKETING: DOES THE CAUSE MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN CONSUMERS’ ATTITUDES AND PURCHASE INTENTIONS TOWARD THE PRODUCT?

Barbara A. Lafferty, Florida State University

Cause-related marketing, where a firm contributes a specified amount to a charitable cause when consumers purchase designated products, is becoming a popular strategy in corporate marketing. Using a laboratory experiment, this study examines whether the importance of the cause to consumers will produce a more favorable attitude toward the product and an increase in purchase likelihood. The results indicate that the relative importance of the cause does make a difference in both attitudes and purchase intentions. In fact, using a less important or unfamiliar cause may actually have negative consequences. The findings should provide insight into the usefulness of CRM as s strateic approach for companies considering implementation of this type of program.

 

MATCHING ADVERTISEMENTS TO EXPERIMENTALLY INDUCED NEEDS

Deana L. Julka, University of Notre Dame

Kerry L. Marsh, University of Notre Dame

The functional perspective on persuasion suggests that individuals are more persuaded by appeals that match their needs. The purpose of these studies was to provide a strong test of the functional perspective by utilizing an experimental approach to induce certain attitude functions. Study 1 validated the situational manipulations of value-expressive and knowledge functions. In Study 2, these value-expressive or knowledge functions were aroused or made salient, and participants then read function-relevant or function-irrelevant advertisements. Function-relevant ads were more appealing than function-irrelevant ads, supporting the matching hypothesis.

 

THERE ARE MANY REASONS TO DRIVE A BMWCSURELY YOU KNOW ONE: IMAGINED EASE OF ARGUMENT RETRIEVAL INFLUENCES BRAND ATTITUDES

Michaela Wanke, Universitat Heidelberg

Gerd Bohner, Universitat Mannheim

Andreas Jurkowitsch, Universitat Mannheim

Previous research has shown how subjectively experienced ease in argument retrieval moderates the impact of argument content. The present paper investigated the effects of the imagined ease or difficulty of retrieving arguments in response to an advertisement that instigates the self-generation of product-related information in response to an advertisement that instigates the self-generation of product-related information. Subjects who were exposed to an ad that asked them to think of one reason for driving (against driving) a BMW, which was experienced as easy, reported a more positive (negative) attitude toward BMW than subjects who were asked to generate ten reasons, which was imagined as difficult. The opposite attitude pattern emerged for the competitor brand Mercedes-Benz. The results are discussed in terms of the role of subjective experience in attitude formation.

 

THE DIMENSIONALITY OF MEASURES OF PRODUCT SIMILARITY UNDER GOAL-CONGRUENT AND GOAL-INCONGRUENT CONDITIONS

Ingrid M. Martin, Boston College

David Stewart, University of Southern California

Product similarity or fit is a commonly used yet confusing construct in the brand extension literature. The present study examines the relationships among various measures of product similarity and fit that have been proposed in the marketing literature. It also considers the relationship of these various measure to measures of attitude and purchase intention. These measures are examined in the context of products linked by a common brand name that are congruent and incongruent with respect to common product goals. Factor analyses reveal several dimensions of similarity. These dimensions of similarity are related in the case of goal congruent products, but are relatively independent in the case of goal incongruent products. Brand attitudes and purchase intention exhibit different relationships to the underlying dimensions of similarity depending on whether goals are congruent or incongruent. implications of these finding for research on brand extensions are discussed.

 

OH, TO SEE THE ABSTRACT - DIRECTLY IN THE SENSUOUS...

Jan P.L. Schoormans, Delft University of Technology

H.M.J.J. (Dirk) Snelders, University of Namur

It is argued that product attributes are abstract because they describe product characteristics that interact with the context in which they are presented - not because they are inclusive of concrete product attributes. This means that abstract attributes need not be conceptually derived from more concrete attributes, and it is best to think of them as being perceptually complex. Research is discussed where abstract attributes are shown to be perceived directly and not derived from concrete attributes in consumer arguments. Instead, they are shown to be understood against more diverse contexts.

 

THE CONSTRUCTION OF PREFERENCES OVER TIME: THE INTERACTION BETWEEN PREFERENCE ELASTICITY AND THE DECISION PROCESS

Steve Hoeffler, Duke University

Dan Ariely, Duke University

Relying on the notion that preferences are constructed yet have a true base, we introduce the notion of preference elasticity. We put forth a theory of decision-based preference formation over time to explain the mechanisms associated with preference elasticity in the decision process. The key ideas in this theory are: 1) preferences have a true but fuzzy base, 2) the preference construction is driven by the goal of resolving the ambiguity inherent to the task, and 3) constructing preferences in a choice task decreases their elasticity in subsequent tasks. We present an experiment that explores and supports these notions.

 

AFFECT TRANSFER THROUGH INGREDIENT BRANDING: AN EXPLORATORY EMPIRICAL EVALUATION

Rajiv Vaidyanathan, University of Minnesota

Mark G. Brown, University of Minnesota

Can using an established national brand ingredient help a private brand without affecting the national brand? Such an alliance could benefit both parties - national brands can reach a value conscious market segment and private brands can gain a competitive advantage by influencing consumer perceptions of quality and value if affect towards the national brand is transferred to the private brand. An experiment showed that a private brand with a name brand ingredient was perceived more positively. At the same time, the national brand was not diminished by the association with the private brand. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

 

BRAND PORTFOLIO EFFECTS IN CONSUMERS’ PREFERENCE FOR UMBRELLA BRANDED PRODUCTS

V. K. Srinivas, Rutgers University-Newark

This paper proposes a model of preference for umbrella branded products. Intrinsic to the model is a term which accounts for brand portfolio effects. Simply stated, brand portfolio effects are the effects induced by the other products on consumers’ subjective utility for a particular product j in the brand portfolio. Based on the notions of brand portfolio effects and preference interdependence, this paper raises some research questions. This research is a preliminary step toward building a framework for analyzing consumer choice for umbrella branded products.

 

THE ROLE OF JUSTIFICATION AND STIMULUS MEANINGFULNESS ON THE ATTRACTION EFFECT: AN ELABORATION-LIKELIHOOD PERSPECTIVE

Prashant Malaviya, University of Illinois at Chicago

K. Sivakumar, University of Illinois at Chicago

The "attraction effect" refers to the phenomena in which the introduction of a new product increases the choice probability of an existing product reltive to a competitor. The new alternative is such that it is dominated by the target but not by the competitor. This paper investigates how the magnitude of the attraction effect is moderated by the need for justification of choice and stimulus meaningfulness. Experimental results show that (a) when product information is less meaningful, the need for justification of choice increases the attraction effect; (b) when product information is more meaningful, instructions to justify choice decrease the attraction effect. The study also finds that the justification-stimulus meaningfulness interaction is observed for subjects whose need for cognition is high, for those who find it easier to perform numerical calculations, and for those who perceive the choice task to be relatively easy. These results are explained in terms of the Elaboration -Likelihood Model. Specifically, it is hypothesized that justification increases the motivation of people to process information and stimulus meaningfulness influences the type of choice rule used for decision making and for justifying those decisions. Both these processes together influence the magnitude of attraction effect.

 

RE-ADDRESSING THE ISSUE OF RECALLCINFORMATION PROCESSING AND THE FEAR OF INVALIDITY

Tiffany Barnett, Duke University

The present experiment offers a re-analysis of the relationship between recall and advertisement judgement previously posited by Lichtenstein and Srull (1985). The re-analysis is in light of a concept called the fear of invalidity posited by Kruglanski (1983). It was predicted that persons who have evaluated a product and are then exposed to outside information or conditions causing the fear of an invalid product judgement would attempt to recall the information that led to the evaluation before recommitting to it. This mental double check has implications for the reaction times found in the aforementioned experiment. Specifically, it was hypothesized that subjects in high fear of invalidity conditions would exhibit slower response latencies than those in no fear conditions. It was expected, moreover, that the correlation between recall and judgement would be higher as a function of fear than the same correlation in no fear conditions. Higher response latencies combined with higher recall/judgement correlations suggest the process of evaluation validation or rejection transpiredCas a function of the fear manipulation. This likely to be true because when the fear of being invalid is high, subjects will attempt to recall not only their evaluation, but the message arguments that led to the formation of that evaluation as well. These hypotheses were validated and support a greater emphasis on the value of specific ad recall data as a predictor of persuasion.

 

EFFECTS OF TIME PRESSURE ON INFORMATION PROCESSING: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Rajiveesh Suri, University of Illinois

Kent B. Monroe, University of Illinois

After reviewing the past empirical research efforts on the effects of time pressure, this research concluded that there is still a research gap in the existing conceptualization on the effects of time pressure on information processing. Specifically, the review suggests that past research efforts have only considered the negative effects of time pressure on information processing and have not considered its positive (or motivating) effects. This research integrates the scattered evidence on the effects of time pressure and presents a new conceptual framework. This framework accommodates both the effect of time pressure into an existing conceptualization provided by the process theories on attitude formation and change.

 

PREFERENCES FOR BUNDLED AND UNBUNDLED OPTIONS: A CONSUMER BEHAVIOR PERSPECTIVE

Sujata Ramnarayan, Researcher

Prior research on bundling has primarily taken on a seller orientation from an economic, and more recently, from a marketing perspective. In general, buyers are treated as purely economic individuals. The current study takes a consumer orientation and considers the demand side incentives for offering bundled and unbundled options. This study examines the information processing basis for bundle preferences, including the conditions under which bundled vs. unbundled products are preferred. Two experiments were conducted to understand consumer perceptions of the non-economic benefits associated with bundled and unbundled options and the conditions under which each option is preferred. As hypothesized, consumer knowledge and time pressure were found to influence preferences for, as well as perceptions of non- economic benefits, associated with each option.

 

TRADEOFFS BETWEEN PRICE AND QUALITY: HOW A VALUE INDEX AFFECTS PREFERENCE FORMATION

Elizabeth H. Creyer, University of Arkansas

William T. Ross, Temple University

Our research examined how the availability of information about the value of a product, expressed as a ratio of the quality received per dollar, influences preference formation. This index, similar to unit price, which provides information about how much quantity is received per dollar, provides consumers with information regarding the quality received per dollar. An experiment is reported which compares consumers’ preferences inferred from a choice task, in which the most attractive option is chosen from a set of options, and from a conjoint task, in which the attractiveness of each option is rated. Consumers, presented with an index of quality received per dollar paid, were more likely to choose a lower priced, higher value option than a higher priced higher quality option compared to consumers presented with only price and quality information and compared to their own preferences as measured in the conjoint task. Clearly, how a consumer will choose to "get the best for his or her money" depends on the processability of available information.

 

A MODEL OF ADOPTION AND DIFFUSION INCORPORATING PROTECTION MOTIVATION THEORY

Derrick S. Boone, Duke University

Pro-innovation bias, or the tendency to regard an innovation as desirable and investigate primarily successful or success prone innovations, has limited the focus of adoption and diffusion research by de-emphasizing or ignoring products that do not fit into these categories. Accordingly, much of the emphasis of adoption and diffusion research has been on the innovation itself (e.g., perceived innovation characteristics, uncertainty surrounding use of the innovation, effect of marketing efforts, etc.), while surprisingly little research has been devoted to understanding the underlying causes of adoption (or non-adoption) from a behavioral perspective. This paper addresses the relative lack of research investigating individual-level innovation adoption processes by expanding E.G. Rogers’ (1983) earlier work on the innovation decision process, and modifying and adapting R.M. Rogers’ (1983) model of protection motivation to a consumer adoption context.

 

BEYOND PRICE-REDUCTION: THE MULTIPLE FUNCTIONS OF SALES PROMOTIONS

Pierre Chandon, Groupe HEC and University of Pennsylvania

Gilles Laurent,Groupe HEC

With its emphasis on the sole financial function of sales promotions, the early literature on consumer deal-proneness cannot explain why consumers’ response to sales promotions is so high compared to their response to price reductions. Based on a literature review and on in-depth consumer interviews, we show that consumers value sales promotions because they help them save money, upgrade to a new or a better product, express their self-concept, simplify their decision process, suggest new purchases, or remind them of non accessible alternatives. We then develop a scale measuring each function and are currently testing its construct validity and its structure.

 

SIMULTANEOUS PRESENTATION OF SAVINGS ON THE INDIVIDUAL ITEMS IN A BUNDLE: TO TELL OR NOT TO TELL?

Rajneesh Suri, University of Illinois

Sung Ho Lee, University of Illinois

Kent B. Monroe, University of Illinois

To sellers which use the price bundling strategy, how to present savings information on bundles so as to increase consumers’ perception of bundle offers is a very important question. To address this important issue which has not been answered by prior research, we examine how (1) different formats to present savings information in bundles and (2) consumers’ purchase intentions interactively affect consumers’ perceived value of bundles. Hypotheses proposed on the basis of information integration theory were supported by the results of our experimental study.

 

EXPERTISE EFFECTS ON PRECHOICE DECISION PROCESSES AND FINAL OUTCOMES: A PROTOCOL ANALYSIS

Antti J. Kanto, Helsinki School of Business Administration

Hannu Kuusela, University of Tampere

Mark T. Spence, Southern Connecticut State University

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of expertise on prechoice decision processes. By examining the frequency and type of elementary information processes made by 90 individuals, we found that experts, relative to less knowledgeable decision makers, evoked a greater number of problem framing statements; made more references to why an option was being retained for further consideration; and used more compensatory decision rules. In addition, we found that misunderstanding provided information mediates the expertise-choice relationship. Experts and novices were nearly equal in their tendency to eliminate one or more brands based on a misunderstanding. However, novices were more prone to retain an option for further consideration because of a misunderstanding. As a result, there was greater variance in novices’ choices than was the case with experts’.

 

THE EFFECTS OF RETURN POLICY ON THE FRAMING AND EVALUATION OF REMOTE PURCHASES

Stacy Wood, University of Florida

Whether through catalogs, direct mail, Internet, or interactive marketing, consumers’ use of remote purchases is increasing rapidly. This study looks at the effect of return policy on two topics: consumers’ framing of the purchase and consumers’ evaluation of the purchase. Prior research on framing, reference points, and the endowment effect, plus the new concept of creeping commitment, are used to support the hypothesis that lenient return policies create a "trial" frame for consumers in ordering products, which reduces the conflict in that decision to order, and that this frame shifts during the delivery time. Research on signaling and confirmation bias and research on self-manipuation tastes and dissonance predict conflicting hypotheses about how return policy can effect a consumers’ evaluation of an ordered product. An experiment was designed to test the above hypotheses and preliminary support was found for both reference frame shifting and the influence of signaling and confirmation bias in evaluation.

 

DO CREDIT CARDS INCREASE SPENDING?

Dilip Soman, University of Colorado

Previous research has suggested that the use of credit cards might enhance consumer spending. This paper develops five possible theoretical mechanisms to explain why such an effect might happen. We hypothesize that the use of credit cards might influence either the likelihood of buying an additional product or the amount spent on a purchase. In three laboratory experiments, we demonstrate these effects. Further, our results show that subjects tended to confuse spending power with wealth, and that they tended to use credit limit as an anchor to estimate an individual’s wealth. Ongoing research is discussed and directions for future research are suggested.

 

A MODEL OF THE CONSUMER EVALUATION PROCESS OF FIRM ETHICALITY

Elizabeth Creyer, University of Arkansas

William T. Ross, Jr., Temple University

Anne M. Velliquette, University of Arkansas

Existing theoretical models of business ethics focus on the process decision-makers within a firm or organization go through when faced with problems containing ethical dimensions. Little or no emphasis has been placed on the decision processes of the individual consumer who is ultimately affected by the firm’s actions and/or behaviors. This article (a) proposes a model of the perception and evaluation of the ethicality of an act from a consumer’s point of view, (b) examines the relationship between the consumer (perceiver), the firm (actor) and the consequences (object of the act) of the firm’s unethical acts or behaviors,(c) offers four research proposals and (d) discusses implications of the model and directions for further research.

 

AIDS AND ME, NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET: FACTORS AFFECTING JUDGMENTS OF RISK

Priya Raghubir, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Geeta Menon, New York University

Five studies investigate the effect of the self-positivity bias, similarity of the other person to oneself, order of elicitation of risk estimates, the ease with which related information can be retrieved from memory, the diagnosticity of such accessibility, and the content of the information retrieved from memory, on people’s perceptions of risk of AIDS for oneself and other people. Theoretical implications regarding the use of the accessibility of information as a diagnostic cue, and the self-positivity effect are discussed, and practical implications regarding social marketing and commercial advertising are offered.

 

EFFECTS OF TELEVISION VIEWING ON SELF-ESTEEM: AN EXPLANATION BASED ON FESTINGER’S THEORY OF SOCIAL COMPARISONS AND THE SELF-DISCREPANCY THEORY

Raj Raghunathan, New York University

Merrie Brucks, University of Arizona

Helen Anderson, Helen Anderson Consulting

761 subjects responded to a survey questionnaire on their television viewing habits. The participants were asked, among other things, to rate themselves on five dimensions: how confident, secure, sexy, attractive and thin they felt after watching attactive models television. It was hypothesized that subjects’ self-esteem (measured by these 5 constructs) would be lowered as a consequence of watching attractive same sex models on television. Based on the self discrepancy theory (Higgins et al., 1986) that self-esteem is affected as a result of a discrepancy between the actual and the ideal self, and the fact that women’s ideal self is likely to place greater emphasis on physical attractiveness, it was hypothesized that women’ self-esteem would be lower more than that of men as a consequence of watching attractive same sex models on television. Further, based on the self-discrepancy theory in conjunction with Festinger’s theory of social comparisons (Festinger, 1954) that comparisons occur with similar others, it was hypothesized that women belonging to the ethnic minority groups (that is , the African American, Asian American, Hispanic and Native American subjects ) would be less affected than the Caucasian female subject. Finally, it was hypothesized that the self-esteem levels of older female subjects would be less affected than that of the younger female subjects. Our findings, in general, support all our hypotheses at least directionally if not significantly. In the cases where wo do not find significant support for out hypotheses, we offer alternative explanations for our results. We conclude our paper by examining the implications of our findings for advertisers.

 

MATERIAL CULTURE AND SYMBOLIC CONSUMPTION

SĀ°ren Askegaard, Odense University

A. Fuat Firat, Odense University

This paper discusses the concepts of material culture, symbolic consumption, and the dichotomy of the functional and the symbolic. This is done first through a discussion of the historical contexts of the development of modernity and the modern market, and the role of material culture herein. After these arguments, it is shown how modernity has an ambivalent relation to the symbolic dimension of its material culture, on the one hand belonging to the realm of the non-functional and non-productive and thus regarded as inferior, but, on the other hand, being the important dimension for distinguishing classes and categories in society. Finally, the false dichotomy of the functional and the symbolic is addressed, and in the conclusion, an alternative metaphor for understanding and organizing the institution of the market is suggested.

 

CUES THAT TRIGGER COMPULSIVE BUYING

Ronald J. Faber, University of Minnesota

Stephen L. Ristvedt, Washington University School of Medicine

Thomas B. Mackenzie, University of Minnesota

Gary A. Christenson, University of Minnesota

Research in compulsive buying has tended to focus on the factors that may cause people to develop this problem. What has received much less attention is the catalysts may elicit or exacerbate specific episodes of this behavior among people who are susceptible to it. This paper examines the specific cues that compulsive buyers indicate trigger or worsen their buying problems. Two types of factors are found to be commonly named. One set involves items associated with purchasing such as malls and money. The second factor is comprised of negative affective states. Implications of these findings and their relationship to other disorders is discussed.

 

THE EFFECTS OF CONSUMER ETHNOCENTRISM ON DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN BRAND PREFERENCES IN POLAND

Terrence H. Witkowski, California State University, Long Beach

Bohdan Roznowski, Catholic University of Lublin

Andrzej Falkowski, Catholic University of Lublin

This paper applies the consumer ethnocetrism scale (CETSCALE) to the Polish market. Age and income were statistically significant correlates of ethnocentrism, while education and city size tended toward significance. Subjects with high CETSCALE scores exhibited much different preference maps for domestic and foreign detergent brads than did subjects with low scores. In contrast to consumers in the West, the more ethnocentric respondents did not discriminate sharply between Polish and foreign brands and did not form coherent categories of domestic and foreign products. Additional analyses investigate how ethnocentric tendencies shape the perception of and affect toward brands. The findings have practical implications for companies operating in Poland.

 

TOWARDS AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOMOSEXUAL CONSUMERS

James Marshall, Arizona State University

Renee D. Shaw, Arizona State University

This manuscript reports the first stage of a research project which is aimed at explicating the relation of homosexual identity and consumer behavior. This first phase of this research employs interviews as a means to identify themes which are applicable to gay male consumers, and which may be distinct from the larger population. These themes are categorized within a framework which explains the development of homosexual identity. By first gaining an understanding of the thoughts, activities, and preferences of gay consumers, subsequent research which builds upon the themes uncovered in this first stage of research is suggested.

 

PROBING EXCHANGE THEORY: A COMPARISON OF CONSUMERS IN THREE RURAL COMMUNITIES

Nancy J. Miller, Iowa State University

Increasing economic uncertainty in rural communities warrants greater attention to consumer shopping behavior. The major purpose of this empirical study was to determine whether a community’s 'pull factor’ score, as one proxy for local market-place exchange, also reflected aspects of social exchange. Adult consumers from three rural communities were examined for differences in levels of reciprocity, community attachment, motivation, satisfaction with local retail facilities, and their intention to shop locally. Lower pull factor scores coincided with lower levels of social and market-place exchange dimensions. Men and women were also found to differ significantly on several aspects of community and exchange.

 

PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF CONSUMPTION BY LOW INCOME HOUSEHOLDS

Linda F. Alwitt, DePaul University

The non-poor public has a generally inaccurate perception of expenditures on 17 products and service by poor households, proportionate to expenditures by households with average incomes. This conclusion is based on a comparison of perception by 300 respondents to behavioral data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. Accuracy of perceptions did not vary by age, education, or sample selection, but 'experts’, people who work with the poor, were more accurate than non-expert respondents. Those non-expert respondents who had more accurate perceptions were more likely to favor increasing governmental expenditures to benefit the poor, as were the 'expert’ respondents.

 

TOWARDS A PORTRAIT OF ARTS CONSUMPTION IN POSTMODERNITY

Laurie A. Meamber, University of California, Irvine

This study highlights issues related to arts consumption in postmodernity. Grouned theory interpretation and analysis procedures were used to analyze interviews with 15 arts/non-arts consumers. Primary themes which emerged from the data include: interest/investment, social influence, and self-expression. The themes indicate that motivation for arts consumption involves more than instrumental and rational factors. The consumption of the arts can become a symbolically charged experience for consumers, a social statement, and also contribute to a notion of themselves and their view of the world.

 

VARIABLES THAT INFLUENCE CONSUMERS’ INFERENCES ABOUT PHYSICIAN ABILITY AND PHYSICIAN ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ADVERSE HEALTH OUTCOMES

Manuel C. Pontes, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Nancy Pontes, New York University

Previous research has not provided definitive evidence for the causal influence of the interpersonal management of patients on inferences about physician ability of accountability. The present research experimentally manipulates three variables, 1) Patient involvement with treatment decisions, 2) Financial incentives by third-party payers to encourage cost-effective medicine, and 3) Use of new treatment practices that have not been widely adopted by other physicians, in a description of a medical case which resulted in patient death. Results showed that greater patient involvement had a strong positive influence on respondents’ inferences about the physician’s ability and accountability for the patient’s death. Financial incentives had the opposite effects; they had a negative influence on respondents’ inferences about the physician’s accountability for the patient’s death. The use of new treatment practices had no effect on these dependent variables.

 

MOOD EFFECTS UPON CUSTOMERS’ RESPONSES TO SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS AND SERVICE ENCOUNTERS: AN EXPERIMENTAL ANALYSIS

Patricia A. Knowles, Clemson University

Gregory M. Pickett, Clemson University

Stephen J. Grove, Clemson University

Subjects were induced into positive or relatively negative moods and then confronted with retail banking service encounters involving positive, neutral, negative or mixed cues. Results of our research indicate that mood has no statistically significant effect on memory, yet did indirectly affect subjects’ evaluation and behavioral intentions toward banking. We also found that the nature of the service encounter (positive, neutral, negative, and mixed) affected subjects’ memory, evaluation, and behavioral intentions toward it. Thus, while our results indicate that one’s mood had only limited impact on subject’s responses to service encounters, the nature of the encounter had a significant impact across almost every measure.

 

A THEORETICAL BASIS FOR A LATITUDE CONCEPTUALIZATION OF SERVICE-ENCOUNTER EVALUATION: DIRECTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH

Stephen L. Vargo, University of Oklahoma

How consumers evaluate service-encounters has profound implications for how marketers manage these encounters. However, there is disagreement concerning the appropriate model for understanding consumer evaluations. Recently, models based on ranges of acceptability have been suggested as alternatives to the traditionally accepted disconfirmation of expectations models. This paper explores the similarities and implications of social judgement-involvement theory to these "latitude" models, particularly the "zone of tolerance" model of service quality proposed by Zeithaml, Berry, and Parasuraman (1993).

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