At every waking moment, one's attention is situated along a continuum from experiencing, where one focuses on their immediate environment, to mind-wandering, where one focuses on environment-independent thoughts, feelings, and daydreams. The framework developed and tested in this research predicts how this spectrum of attention affects the relative weight consumers place on price information in their judgments and decisions. Six studies provide empirical support for the framework, with the core finding being that people in an experiencing (mind-wandering) mode systematically attach more (less) weight to price information. This effect stems from the price attribute's characteristic of changeability, or capability for exhibiting temporal variation. People in an experiencing (versus mind-wandering) mode place a greater importance on noticing change, and therefore subsequently estimate that a changeable stimulus (such as a price) is more likely to change. Such differences in beliefs of change likelihood lead to the observed differences in price weighting effects across the attention modes. These findings shed new light on the underlying psychology of attention as well as the role of price in judgment and decision making.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2014. Major: Business Administration. Advisor: Rohini Ahluwalia. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 87 pages, appendices A-R.
Attention modes in consumer decision making: attending to the physical environment makes price more important.
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