Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are You Feeling Lucky? How Superstition Impacts Consumer Choice

Date:
February 12, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Despite their strong impact on the marketplace, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the how superstitious beliefs impact decision making. A new study examines the role of lucky and unlucky features and finds that consumers are more disappointed when a product that is supposedly "lucky" breaks. Additionally, even thinking about a "negative" superstition can make consumers more risk averse.

Despite their strong impact on the marketplace, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the how superstitious beliefs impact decision making. A groundbreaking new study from the April issue of the Journal of Consumer Research examines the role of lucky and unlucky features and finds that consumers are more disappointed when a product that is supposedly "lucky" breaks. Additionally, even thinking about a "negative" superstition can make consumers more risk averse.

"Despite the large impact that superstitious beliefs have on the marketplace, we currently know very little about their implications for consumer judgment and decision making," explain Thomas Kramer and Lauren Block (Baruch College).

They continue: "This research is one of the first to investigate the impact of irrational beliefs on consumer behavior in the marketplace."

Between $800 and $900 million is lost in business in the United States every Friday the 13th. A businessman in Guangzhou, China, recently bid 54,000 yuan (almost seven times the country's per capita annual income) for a lucky license plate containing the sequence 888. Continental Airlines recently advertised an $888 flight to Beijing with the slogan "Lucky You," and the Beijing Olympics are scheduled to open on August 8, 2008 at 8 p.m.

Similarly, Kramer and Block found in a previous study that Taiwanese consumers were more likely to purchase a radio priced at $888 than one priced at $777 -- a 15 percent increase in price. In this study, the researchers expand on their prior work with superstitious beliefs. They reveal that, following product failure -- specifically, a rice cooker that burnt the rice -- Taiwanese consumers expected to be more disappointed if the rice cooker was red, a lucky color in Chinese culture, as opposed to green, a neutral color.

However, when consumers were made conscious of superstitions beforehand through a questionnaire discussing cultural awareness, they were equally disappointed with the red and green rice cookers.

In another study of American college students at an East Coast university, the researchers found that having participants think about Friday the 13th made them significantly more risk averse. Participants were told they were participating in two unrelated studies. After thinking about Friday the 13th or a neutral day (Tuesday the 19th), participants were then asked to make a choice in betting situations, for example a guaranteed $18 or a 20 percent chance to win $240. Those who had thought about Friday the 13th chose the safe option 49 percent of the time, versus only 35 percent of those who had thought about a neutral day.

"In particular, we show that superstitious beliefs have a robust influence on product satisfaction and decision making under risk," the researchers write. "However, these effects are only observed when superstitious beliefs are allowed to work nonconsciously."

Thomas Kramer and Lauren Block, "Conscious and Nonconscious Components of Superstitious Beliefs in Judgment and Decision Making." Journal of Consumer Research: April 2008.


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. "Are You Feeling Lucky? How Superstition Impacts Consumer Choice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080212122050.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, February 12). Are You Feeling Lucky? How Superstition Impacts Consumer Choice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080212122050.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Are You Feeling Lucky? How Superstition Impacts Consumer Choice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080212122050.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
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