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Authors

Se Bum Park

Abstract

Individuals often make their judgments on the basis of the ease or difficulty with which information comes to mind (for reviews, see Greifeneder, Bless, and Pham 2010; Schwarz 1998, 2004). Recent research, however, has documented that variables known to determine the degree of cognitive resources invested in information processing such as personal relevance (Grayson and Schwarz 1999; Rothman and Schwarz 1998), accuracy motivation (Aarts and Dijksterhuis 1999), and processing capacity (Menon and Raghubir 2003) can affect the extent to which individuals draw on metacognitive difficulty in making their judgments. The primary aim of this research is thus to investigate whether individuals with substantial cognitive resources or those with lack of cognitive resources are more likely to draw on metacognitive difficulty when making their product evaluations. The findings from two laboratory experiments indicate that individuals who perceive a greater level of fit between their self-regulatory orientation and temporal construal (Experiment 1), and between their self-construal and the type of product benefit appeal (Experiment 2) are more likely than those who perceive the lack of such fit to evaluate a target product less positively after thinking of many rather than a few positive reasons. The findings provide supporting evidence for the two-stage backward inference process involved with the effect of metacognitive difficulty on consumer judgments in that consumer judgments based on metacognitive difficulty may require greater cognitive resources than those based on the content of information generated. Also, the current research documents further empirical evidence for the relationship between self-regulatory orientation-construal level fit and cognitive resources such that perceived regulatory-construal level fit can increase consumer willingness to invest cognitive resources into their judgment tasks. Last, the findings can help marketers differentiate purchase situations where asking consumers to think of many positive benefits from purchase situations where asking consumers to think of a few key benefits is relatively more beneficial.

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