Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Grass Isn't Always Greener

Date:
August 9, 2007
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
In a series of eight experiments, scientists found that when consumers expect to make similar choices in the future, they selectively pay attention to information that suggests that an alternative would be better. These consumers also tend to disregard information that indicates their current choice is the best possible choice.

There are many consumer decisions that we have to make over and over again, such as selecting a restaurant to eat at in our neighborhood or deciding which store to shop at for groceries. The repetitive nature of these decisions provides us with the opportunity to learn from past choices and improve our future choices. However, new research from the August issue of the Journal of Consumer Research shows that our quest for improvement may result in a failure to appreciate the value of our current choice.

In a series of eight experiments, Tom Meyvis (New York University) and Alan Cooke (University of Florida) find that when consumers expect to make similar choices in the future, they selectively pay attention to information that suggests that an alternative would be better. These consumers also tend to disregard information that indicates their current choice is the best possible choice.

"Our findings suggest that consumers who are focused on the future are so preoccupied with finding ways to improve their situation that they become overly sensitive to information that points to such opportunities -- and lose sight of the relative advantages of their current choice," the authors explain.

For example, Meyvis and Cooke asked study participants to choose among three stores on a series of simulated shopping trips. After each trip, they were shown the price charged for a product at their chosen store and the prices charged at each of the other two stores.

After going on a series of shopping trips, participants were then asked to indicate which store was the cheapest and whether they would want to switch to another store for a second set of shopping trips.

Notably, the investigators found that when participants were told in advance that they would make a second set of shopping trips, they were less likely to prefer the store they initially chose and more likely to switch to another store after the first set of trips. In addition, they also thought the store they chose was the most expensive fifty percent more of the time. This phenomenon was replicated in later studies even when the chosen store was less expensive than the other two stores.

In contrast, participants who did not expect to have to make a second choice accurately recalled an equal number of trips on which the chosen store was cheaper or more expensive.

"Ironically, participants who were preparing for future decisions, and should therefore be more motivated to learn from their past choices, were less likely to realize that they had selected the cheapest store and were more likely to switch to other, more expensive stores," the authors write.

Additional evidence suggests that consumers who anticipate future choices selectively search for ways to improve their current situation and disproportionately pay attention to better prices at other stores.

As the authors explain, "As a result, forward looking consumers overestimate how green the grass is on the other side of the fence, leading them to abandon their chosen store for an often objectively inferior alternative."

Reference: Tom Meyvis and Alan D. J. Cooke. "Learning from Mixed Feedback: Anticipation of the Future Reduces Appreciation of the Present" Journal of Consumer Research: August 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "The Grass Isn't Always Greener." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070807135718.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2007, August 9). The Grass Isn't Always Greener. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070807135718.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "The Grass Isn't Always Greener." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070807135718.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins