The Priming Effects of Counterfactual Thinking

Priyali Rajagopal, Southern Methodist University
Robert E. Burnkrant, Ohio State University
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - While a large body of literature on counterfactuals has explored the effects of counterfactual thinking on different variables such as affect (e.g. Roese 1995), judgment (e.g. Miller and McFarland 1986), self-inferencing (e.g. Roese and Olson 1993) and message scrutiny (e.g. Krishnamurthy and Sivaraman 2002), there has been relatively little research on the priming effects of counterfactuals (e.g. Galinksy and Moscowitz 2000). The present article examines the priming effects of counterfactual thoughts on the evaluation of framed messages. We demonstrate that the mere act of thinking counterfactually primes an alternative-generation mindset that increases the accessibility of alternatives to a given frame, leading to an elimination of framing effects. Our findings contribute to the literature on counterfactual thinking and de-biasing strategies.
[ to cite ]:
Priyali Rajagopal and Robert E. Burnkrant (2005) ,"The Priming Effects of Counterfactual Thinking", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 612-612.