Trip Distance and Time Duration Judgments

EXTENDED ABSTRACT - As Hubbard (1978) observed, it is evident that time and distance are fundamentally important dimensions of consumer life. However, consumer researchers have only begun to focus attention on time perception (Lee et al. 2000) and distance perception (Raghubir and Krishna 1996). Further, despite an obvious linkage, the literatures on distance perception and time perception have progressed rather independently. A goal of the current research is to bring together these literatures to gain insight into consumer behavior. In laying the conceptual foundation of the present research, we take advantage of two well-developed consumer behavior literatures, one on information search (e.g., Stigler 1961) and another on information use (Feldman and Lynch 1988; Higgins 1996). By considering the two stages, search and use, in sequence, we clarify how information acquisition implicates the later use of such information.



Citation:

Yong-Soon Kang and Paul M. Herr (2002) ,"Trip Distance and Time Duration Judgments", in AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5, eds. Ramizwick and Tu Ping, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 358.

Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5, 2002      Page 358

TRIP DISTANCE AND TIME DURATION JUDGMENTS

Yong-Soon Kang, Binghamton University, U.S.A.

Paul M. Herr, University of Colorado, Boulder, U.S.A.

EXTENDED ABSTRACT -

As Hubbard (1978) observed, it is evident that time and distance are fundamentally important dimensions of consumer life. However, consumer researchers have only begun to focus attention on time perception (Lee et al. 2000) and distance perception (Raghubir and Krishna 1996). Further, despite an obvious linkage, the literatures on distance perception and time perception have progressed rather independently. A goal of the current research is to bring together these literatures to gain insight into consumer behavior. In laying the conceptual foundation of the present research, we take advantage of two well-developed consumer behavior literatures, one on information search (e.g., Stigler 1961) and another on information use (Feldman and Lynch 1988; Higgins 1996). By considering the two stages, search and use, in sequence, we clarify how information acquisition implicates the later use of such information.

The existing research does not agree on whether trip distance or time duration is a better predictor of aggregate customer flows or individual store choices. At the same time, the association between distance and duration could be very weak, especially in the urban consumer environment, making consumers’ use of time or distance as decision input a matter of consequence. Hence, we focus on consumer acquisition and use of information to understand the likely errors and biases in time and distance judgments. A review of the literature on time perception and distance perception indicates that urban consumers are likely to have better knowledge of trip time duration rather than trip distance (H1, Asymmetric Knowledge). Furthermore, according to the information search literature, consumers are likely to seek trip time information more than distance information for driving distance trips (H2, Asymmetric Search). This asymmetric search behavior (H2) will further increase the asymmetry in availability, accessibility, and accuracy between time and distance information (H1). The asymmetry in knowledge foreshadows the use of uch information in judgments according to the information use literature. Specifically, when trip judgments are memory based, the more accessible time information becomes the basis of both time judgment and distance judgment (H3, Accessibility Effect). When judgments are map-based, the salient distance information can influence the time duration estimation (H4, Salience Effect). Finally, the coexistence of these two influences inflates the level of correlations between time estimates and distance estimates, regardless of the underlying relationship (H5, Illusory Correlations).

We conducted three field experiments. In the first study, conducted at a shopping mall, we obtained response delay to time (how long does it takes to get to shopping mall X?) and distance (how far away is X?) questions asked in alternating orders (N=72 shoppers). The results showed that consumers have better knowledge for trip time than for trip distance, supporting H1. That is, the distance questionCcompared to the time questionCresulted in more omissions (no responses), longer response delays (especially when it was the first question), and greater errors. The second study, in which subjects estimated time and distance to four intra-city shopping trips, finds support for all five hypotheses (N=269 college students). Time estimation errors were smaller than the corresponding distance estimation errors (H1). Subjects sought trip time duration information far more than trip distance information (H2). The memory-condition subjects’ distance judgments were predominantly influenced by trip duration (H3), while the map-condition subjects tended to base their time duration judgments on the salient distance information available form the map (H4). Finally, results from Study 2 also showed that the observed time-distance correlations are indeed higher than the actual (H5). In the third study, which involved two inter-city trips (N=113), we replicate the second study findings supportive of H2, H3, and H4.

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Authors

Yong-Soon Kang, Binghamton University, U.S.A.
Paul M. Herr, University of Colorado, Boulder, U.S.A.



Volume

AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 5 | 2002



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