Journal of Economic Psychology2014-08-18 8:59 PM

The effects of information form and domain-specific knowledge on choice deferral


Three studies examined the effect of information form on choice deferral in consumer choice and explored the moderating role of knowledge about the product domain. Two theoretical approaches were contrasted: (1) The process approach predicting that choice deferral varies as a function of information form, and (2) the communication approach predicting an interaction of information form and domain-specific knowledge. Participants were presented with different laptops described in an absolute (e.g. ‘300 GB hard disc’), evaluative-numerical (e.g. ‘hard disc with 30 out of 100 points in an expert rating’) or evaluative-verbal (e.g. ‘bad hard disc’) information form, and they could choose to buy one of the laptops or defer. Domain-specific knowledge was also assessed. In Study 1, evaluative-numerical and evaluative-verbal values led to more deferral in people with high domain-specific knowledge. The pattern for evaluative-numerical and evaluative-verbal values was replicated for a different information organization in Study 2. Study 3 showed that absolute values led to more deferral the less knowledgeable participants were and demonstrated that   domain-specific   knowledge   and   deferral   were   unrelated   when   absolute   and evaluative-verbal values were presented in combination. In sum, the results support the communication  approach  and  have methodological  implications  for  decision  research and theoretical implications for understanding choice deferral in real-life decisions.


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Journal of Economic Psychology

Research in Economic Psychology and Behavioral Economics.The Journal aims to present research that will improve understanding of behavioral, especially socio- psychological, aspects of economic phenomena and processes.

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