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Going with your "gut feeling": the importance and functional significance of affective cues in consumer judgment and choice

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The authors suggest that existing research does not fully recognize the potential importance of affective experience in consumer decision-making and judgment. The dominant view suggests that affective cues tend to have an impact on judgment primarily when consumers are either less motivated to be accurate, or when they have diminished ability to judge products (i.e., primarily under low elaboration conditions). Furthermore, affectively based choices are commonly viewed as impulsive decisions which consumers ultimately regret. Using a dual process perspective, the research reported here expands on these views in a number of important ways. First, the authors show that affective experience can influence choice even when highly motivated consumers are fully capable of making decisions on the basis of tangible product features (i.e., under high elaboration conditions). In particular, affect served as a heuristic cue for decisions made under both high and low elaboration. They also showed that consumers adjusted their use of affective cues in choice for different product categories, depending on whether such cues seemed relevant to satisfaction. Finally, affective purchases made in a natural setting were associated with greater long-term satisfaction, especially when the purchases were important. Overall, affective cues were shown to have much broader effects on consumer decision-making and judgment than has previously been demonstrated, and there was evidence that consumers are unaware of the influence of affective cues on their decisions. As well, the evidence suggests that the use of affective cues can be considered relatively functional, in the sense that it led to increased satisfaction rather than regret.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://flora.insead.edu/fichiersti_wp/inseadwp2002/2002-59.pdf

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Copyright INSEAD. All rights reserved