The Glass Is Both Half Full and Half Empty: the Strategic Use of Mixed Counterfactual Thoughts.

How do people convince themselves to repeatedly engage in consumption activities that often result in negative outcomes, without apparent regard for these past experiences? The purpose of this research is to examine how mixed counterfactuals may contribute to our understanding of potentially dysfunctional consumer behaviors such as gambling. Using a simulated poker machine game, we demonstrate that frequent gamblers, unlike infrequent gamblers, generate mixed counterfactuals in response to their outcomes. This potentially dysfunctional use of counterfactual thoughts enables the frequent gambler to gloss over a loss and devalue a win leaving the glass half full and half empty.


Christina I. Anthony and Elizabeth Cowley (2009) ,"The Glass Is Both Half Full and Half Empty: the Strategic Use of Mixed Counterfactual Thoughts.", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 664-665.


Christina I. Anthony, The University of Sydney, Australia
Elizabeth Cowley, The University of Sydney, Australia


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36 | 2009

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


I, Me, Mine: The Effect of the Explicitness of Self-Anchoring on Consumer Evaluations

Adrienne E Foos, Mercyhurst University
Kathleen A Keeling, University of Manchester, UK
Debbie I Keeling, University of Sussex

Read More


Trust, but Verify: A Multi-level Examination of Online Reviews and Persuasion Knowledge

Martin A. Pyle, Ryerson University
Andrew Smith, Suffolk University
Yanina Chevtchouk, University of Glasgow

Read More


Consumers’ Attitudes Towards Their Rights and Responsibilities in the Sharing Economy: An Ideological Perspective

Marylouise Caldwell, University of Sydney, Australia
Steve Elliot, University of Sydney, Australia
Paul Henry, University of Sydney, Australia
Marcus O'Connor, University of Sydney, Australia

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.