My primary research stream focuses on consumer judgment and choice. Specifically, I study why people make the decisions they make and how the decision-making context can shape their preferences. My current work examines how having to reject options on new decision-making platforms (e.g., swiping apps) or to explore products via new interactive technologies (e.g., scanning QR codes) can reduce decision-making barriers. 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 and Context Effects
- Online Information Processing
- Prosocial Behavior
Job Market Paper
Most options considered by consumers are ultimately rejected or not chosen, yet not all rejections are created equal. This research examines the impact of “explicit” rejection (i.e., decision to tentatively “reject” an option) vs. “implicit” rejection (i.e., decision to continue looking for better options) on perceptions of the “rejection survivors” and the likelihood of making a purchase. Specifically, the authors propose that compared to implicit rejections, explicit rejections increase psychological closure with respect to the rejected options, thereby increasing the perceived attractiveness of and subsequent commitment to the rejection survivors. Eight studies test (a) the predicted differences between explicit and implicit rejection, (b) the mechanism underlying these predictions, and (c) the behavioral consequences of the rejection survivor advantage (e.g., purchase, reconsideration of forgone options, expectations about future options, stopping points). The authors employ a range of methods, including real-world data from a “swiping” mobile app for pet adoption. The implications of alternative rejection modes for 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.