When Uncertainty Brings Pleasure: the Role of Outcome Imageability and Mental Imagery

Consumers generally prefer certainty to uncertainty, and as such often shun away from uncertain situations. Our research, however, demonstrates that consumers facing uncertainty (than certainty) associated with a future positive event (e.g., winning a lucky draw but not knowing the particular prize won) can experience greater, non-fleeting positive feelings. We further uncover the mechanism underlying such effect. Specifically, the durability of the pleasurable uncertainty effect hinges on the level of imagery elaboration that consumers generate from the various possible favorable outcomes (e.g., imagining the possible prizes in a lucky draw). Results from two experiments provide support for our framework.


Cheng Qiu and Yih Hwai Lee (2008) ,"When Uncertainty Brings Pleasure: the Role of Outcome Imageability and Mental Imagery", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 690-691.


Cheng Qiu, University of Hong Kong, China
Yih Hwai Lee, National University of Singapore, Singapore


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35 | 2008

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


F13. A Story of Waste: Trust, Symbolic Adoption & Sustainable Disposal

Marwa Gad Mohsen, Babson College, USA

Read More


Product Transparency in Online Selling Mechanisms: Consumer Preference for Opaque Products

Lucas Stich, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich
Martin Spann, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich
Gerald Häubl, University of Alberta, Canada

Read More


When Prominent Logos Make You Feel Competent

Sara Caprioli, Technical University of Munich
Christopher Fuchs, Technical University of Munich
Nailya Ordabayeva, Boston College, USA

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.