Counterfactual Thinking As a Post-Hoc Consumption Expectation

Consumers’ reactions are driven by their expectations formed prior to consumption. The present research complements this view by highlighting that expectation may also constructed instantaneously. It is proposed that after a negative consumption experience, counterfactual thinking of “how the company could have acted differently” functions like a post-hoc-generated customized standard against which the company performance is evaluated and thereby affects consumers’ reactions. Results across two experiments demonstrated that company-related counterfactual thoughts intensified consumers’ dissatisfaction and negative postpurchase intentions. This tendency, however, was attenuated when company-unrelated counterfactual thoughts, such as those related to the consumers themselves, were generated simultaneously.


Jessica Y. Y. Kwong and Candy K. Y. Ho (2009) ,"Counterfactual Thinking As a Post-Hoc Consumption Expectation", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 559-560.


Jessica Y. Y. Kwong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
Candy K. Y. Ho, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36 | 2009

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