Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Tiger Woods' Putter May Not Be Right For You

Date:
October 13, 2007
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Take a look inside the average American household and you're likely to find high-tech electronic equipment, sports gear and kids' toys far too complicated for their owners' use. Consumers often buy unsuitable products because they base purchase decisions on their perceived, rather than actual, abilities says a University of Michigan business professor.

Take a look inside the average American household and you're likely to find high-tech electronic equipment, sports gear and kids' toys far too complicated for their owners' use.

Consumers often buy unsuitable products because they base purchase decisions on their perceived, rather than actual, abilities says a University of Michigan business professor.

This comes as no surprise to Katherine Burson, an assistant professor of marketing at Michigan's Ross School of Business.

"Consumers attempt to use self-assessments as a guide for what products to buy, but they have little idea of how their skills and abilities compare to those of other consumers," Burson said. "That means when people choose products designed for particular skill levels, they often do not get what they intended to buy."

She says consumers too often assume that product manufacturers produce different levels of options---beginner, intermediate or advanced---for people of different skill levels.

"They mistakenly believe that all that's necessary is to determine their own skill level compared to others," Burson said. "Unfortunately, accurate self-assessment is actually quite difficult for most people."

In a recent article published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Burson examines how manipulating the difficulty of a task given to a group of consumers leads to changes in their perceptions of their relative abilities and, consequently, in their choice of products.

In the first of two experiments, 55 participants were asked to putt golf balls on an indoor putting green. Half of the subjects putted a golf ball from 10 feet from the cup and the other half putted from three feet. Those who putted a shorter distance (easy task) not only were able to sink more balls but also thought they were better golfers in general than those putting a long distance (hard task)---despite the obvious ease or difficulty of the putts.

Furthermore, the participants used these biased self-assessments as a cue for product choice. The three-foot putters thought they should buy higher-end golf balls, compared with the 10-foot putters who selected lower-quality golf balls.

Burson explored this phenomenon further in a second experiment in which 46 participants were given an eight-item, multiple-choice quiz about photography. Half of them answered tricky questions while the others answered simple questions. The inability of the first group to answer many quiz questions led them to believe they were below-average photographers, and to prefer lower-tier digital cameras. The second group, which easily answered most of the quiz questions, inferred they were above-average photographers, and preferred more advanced cameras.

Burson's results are especially significant because consumers of all skill levels appear to be equally susceptible to this bias.

"As retailers race to improve the in-store experience for consumers by providing opportunities to try out products, they may unintentionally be misleading customers about their relative standings," she said. "For instance, in a sporting goods store, the climbing wall is certainly smaller and easier to scale than a real mountain, and the putting green is flatter and shorter than an actual golf course.

"My research suggests that if these trials are fairly easy, retailers may inadvertently encourage inflated perceptions of ability among their customers. The consequences of these misperceptions could range from frustration to actual physical injury."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Why Tiger Woods' Putter May Not Be Right For You." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071012124031.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2007, October 13). Why Tiger Woods' Putter May Not Be Right For You. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071012124031.htm
University of Michigan. "Why Tiger Woods' Putter May Not Be Right For You." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071012124031.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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:
from the past week

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