My primary research stream focuses on consumer judgment and choice. Specifically, I study how consumers interact with their choice environment and its theoretical and managerial implications.
My work examines how decision interfaces frame option rejection and the implications on search and purchase behavior. I'm also interested in the contextual drivers (e.g., feeling subjectively older) of prosocial behavior. Broadly, my goal is to better understand the role of framing and context effects to help consumers make decisions that are more closely aligned with their preferences.
- Judgment and Decision-Making
- Framing & Context Effects
- Digital Interfaces & Information Processing
- Prosocial & Pro-environmental Behavior
Job Market Paper
Most options considered by consumers are rejected or not chosen, yet not all rejections are created equal. This paper examines how decision interfaces that allow consumers to make “explicit” rejection (i.e., decision to explicitly exclude an option from further consideration) can influence the evaluation process and ultimate purchase likelihood. Specifically, the authors propose that compared to “implicit” rejections in which option exclusion is implied (i.e., decision to not add the option or to look at more options), explicit rejections increase psychological closure with respect to the rejected options, thereby facilitating a sense of evaluation closure and readiness for commitment (i.e., purchase) to one of the non-rejected options. This research tests a range of decision interfaces commonly employed in the web—including like-or-dislike buttons, left-or-right swipes, and shopping carts—and the resulting decision processes across different product categories. The implications of explicit option rejection for our understanding of consumer decision-making in the current information environment are discussed.
Contradicting existing associations between old age and negative societal consequences, such as being frail and unproductive, this research finds that people contribute more to the greater good of society (e.g., by helping strangers in need) when they feel subjectively older. We document this phenomenon in both the laboratory and the field and find that this heightened desire to contribute to the greater good occurs because feeling subjectively older increases consumers' perceived responsibility for others' welfare. We further uncover a divergent impact of subjective age versus chronological age on giving to distant others: Whereas older subjective age increases perceived responsibility for distant others' welfare and thus contributions to distant others, older chronological age does not. These findings connect the classic theories of prosocial behavior with new research on subjective age and illuminate a psychological driver that nudges people to take actions that benefit distant others.
A fundamental dilemma that consumers often face is between choosing based on product quality, represented by objective attributes (e.g., customer ratings, specs), and based on personal taste, represented by subjective attributes (e.g., aesthetics). We propose that the way consumers resolve this quality–taste conflict is contingent on whether they approach their decision as a choice or rejection. In particular, the present research shows that rejecting one’s own taste is more painful and objectionable–or associated with greater loss aversion–than rejecting the criteria related to product quality that are essentially constructed by others. Five experiments that mimic the online shopping experience demonstrate that participants who reject (vs. choose) options are more likely to keep options that highlight their idiosyncratic preferences and reason their decision based on their taste (e.g., I personally like a black car) over quality cues (e.g., this car has lower miles). We also examine boundary conditions and demonstrate that the effect is attenuated when the decision is reversible or involves greater opportunity cost. Through these findings, we identify a novel driver of “survival of taste” in the current information environment and discuss its theoretical and practical implications.