Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Many consumers believe 36 months is longer than 3 years

Date:
February 15, 2011
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Consumers often have a distorted view when they compare information that involves numbers, according to a new study.

Consumers often have a distorted view when they compare information that involves numbers, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"As a consumer, would your preference for a dishwasher depend on whether its warranty level is expressed in months rather than years?" write authors Mario Pandelaere (Ghent University, Belgium), Barbara Briers (Tilburg University, the Netherlands), and Christophe Lembregts (Ghent University, Belgium).

To most consumers, the answer is "yes." The difference between an 84-month and a 108-month warranty looks bigger than the difference between a seven-year and a nine-year warranty, despite the fact that both differences are exactly the same.

"Qualitative information can usually be specified in alternative units," the authors write. "In many cases, however, the specific unit in which information is described is arbitrary. For instance, product quality ratings may be expressed on a scale from 0 to 10 or on a scale from 0 to 100," the authors write. "People typically fail to realize that the unit of quantitative information is arbitrary. They just focus on the number of scale units used to express a certain difference."

As a result, higher numbers seem to represent bigger quantities. This "unit effect" is the reason why consumers perceive a bigger difference between ratings 90 and 95 out of 100 than they do between a 9 or 9.5 out of 10.

In an additional study, the authors found that the unit effect can be used to encourage healthy food choices. In one experiment, participants exiting the lab were offered the choice between a complimentary apple or a Twix® bar. The energy content of these two choices was either expressed in Kilojoules (247 for the apple versus 1029 for the Twix®) or Kilocalories (59 for the apple versus 246 for the Twix®). "Participants more often chose the apple when the energy content was expressed in Kilojoules than in Kilocalories as the former difference (782 Kilojoules) looks much bigger in the latter one (187 Kilocalories).

However, the authors found that the effect was not replicated when people pay close attention to specific attribute information or when people are reminded of the arbitrary nature of the unit in which information is expressed.


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.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mario Pandelaere, Barbara Briers, and Christophe Lembregts. How to Make a 29% Increase Look Bigger: The Unit Effect in Option Comparisons. Journal of Consumer Research, August 2011 (published online February 1, 2011)

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Many consumers believe 36 months is longer than 3 years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110214163114.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2011, February 15). Many consumers believe 36 months is longer than 3 years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110214163114.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Many consumers believe 36 months is longer than 3 years." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110214163114.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — New photo-recognition software from MicroBlink, called PhotoMath, solves linear equations and simple math problems with step-by-step results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rate Hike Worries Down on Inflation Data

Rate Hike Worries Down on Inflation Data

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inflation remains well under control according to the latest consumer price index, giving the Federal Reserve more room to keep interest rates low for awhile. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
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

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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