Distractions help consumers make accurate decisions

April 21st, 2009 - 1:28 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, April 21 (ANI): Distracting consumers from a decision for some moments could help them make more accurate product evaluations, a new study suggests.

In the study, author Davy Lerouge of Tilburg University has demonstrated that distraction can help decision-making, depending on the manner in which consumers process the available product information.

“I find that distraction only helps consumers who tend to perceive products as coherent entities and typically hold clear good/bad representations of products. However, it does not help consumers who typically focus on the specific features of products and hold more mixed product representations,” Lerouge said.

For the study, the author created experiments where participants evaluated four different products. Some participants were induced into a ‘configural’ mindset, meaning that they were told to focus on their overall impression of the items.

Another group was asked to form a detailed impression (’featural’ mindset) noting positive and negative features. Some participants were distracted with anagram tasks and others were not.

It was found that people in the configural mindset made more accurate product evaluations after they were distracted.

“Consumers with a configural mindset differentiate more after distraction because they can rely on mental product representations that are more coherent than those of consumers with a featural mindset. These polarized product representations help consumers to better differentiate between product alternatives,” the author said.

The study is published in the Journal of Consumer Research. (ANI)

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