Special Session Summary Experience-Based Processing and Its Effects on Judgment, Decision Making, and Behavior


Laurette Dube and Ashesh Mukherjee (2001) ,"Special Session Summary Experience-Based Processing and Its Effects on Judgment, Decision Making, and Behavior", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, eds. Mary C. Gilly and Joan Meyers-Levy, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 98.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, 2001     Page 98



Laurette Dube, McGill University

Ashesh Mukherjee, McGill University

Consumer and decision making research have traditionally focused on the rational side of human beings, viewing judgment and behavior as the outcome of rational processing. Rational processing assumes that individuals have a conceptual understanding of the object in question, and consciously use information in the environment to make judgments about the object. Unlike rational processing which operates solely at the conscious level, experience-based processing is driven by subjective feeling states that may operate at both conscious and non-conscious levels. Further, the experiential systemC in comparison to rational processingBis said to be more closely tied to immediate affective experience, is less well differentiated, more action oriented and less reflective, and often based on gut feelings, favoring judgments and behaviors that "feels right." Although there is mounting evidence in diverse research domains such as psychology and neuroscience on the pervasiveness and importance of experience processing, there has been little research in consumer behavior on this topic. Hence the goal of this special session was to gain a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of experiential processing, using the latest research findings in psychology, neuroscience and consumer behavior.

It has been suggested that experience-based processing may rely on cognitive feelings, affective feelings and bodily states to guide judgment, decision making, and behavior in different ways. The first paper, by Piotr Winkelman and Norbert Schwarz) pertained to cognitive feelings, that is feelings generated in the course of information processing. Such feelings include the experience of processing ease or difficulty and the experience of recall ease or difficulty. In their paper, the authors show that the outcome of various judgments (e.g., risk perception, subjective report of attitude strength, judgments of truth) is significantly influenced by the experience of cognitive feelings, over and above the traditionally examined effects of attribute belief and evaluation. The second paper, by Antoine Bechara, examined the impact of bodily states on decision making, using a new theoretical framework called the Somatic Marker Hypothesis. The key idea of this hypothesis is that decision-making is influenced by marker signals that arise in bio-reguatory processes, including those that express themselves in emotions and feelings. Using a gambling task, the author shows that somatic signals are indispensable for effective decision making, and that the role of somatic or bodily signals may be outside of our consciousness. Finally, Laurette DubT, Micheal Conway, and Asheeh Mukherjee focused on threat-related affective feelings. Their work shows that the use of humor appeal may favor the adoption of threat-prevention behavior by making individuals who tend to react to threat by pre-conscious defensive reactions, namely high-masculinity individuals), better able to experience threat-related negative feelings. Theoretical and applied contributions of the three papers were discussed by Andrew Mitchell.



Laurette Dube, McGill University
Ashesh Mukherjee, McGill University


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28 | 2001

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