Publication Date

2014-05-06

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2014-05-06

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Marketing (Business)

Date of Defense

2014-04-30

First Committee Member

Jiao Zhang

Second Committee Member

Carey K. Morewedge

Third Committee Member

Juliano Laran

Fourth Committee Member

Claudia Townsend

Fifth Committee Member

Robert J. Meyer

Abstract

It is generally assumed that the hedonic response to an outcome is a joint function of the desirability of the outcome and the likelihood of its occurrence. Losses are almost never pleasurable, but people believe that losses hurt less when they are small and/or expected than when they are large and/or unexpected. Conversely, gains are almost always pleasurable, but are more so when they are large and/or unexpected than when they are small and/or expected. When consumers decide which potential losses to avoid and which potential gains to pursue, their decisions depend on predictions of their hedonic responses to those potential future gains and losses. Thus, an important question is whether affective forecasters are able to accurately predict the extent to which their hedonic responses to an outcome are influenced by the magnitude of the outcome and the probability of its occurrence. This dissertation proposes that affective forecasters overestimate the extent to which their happiness with an outcome depends on its magnitude and its probability of occurrence because of differences in affective intensity between affective forecasters and experiencers. The hedonic experience of an outcome is typically more affectively intense than the simulation of that outcome upon which the affective forecasts for it are based. Intense experiences capture attentional resources required to consider and incorporate outcome specifications into judgment. Consequently, hedonic experiences are less influenced by outcome specifications than are affective forecasts of those experiences. The present research establishes that affective forecasters are more sensitive to the magnitude of an outcome and its probability of occurrence than experiencers. It provides support for the theorized account that the asymmetry in affective intensity evoked by the act of making affective forecasts and having the corresponding hedonic experiences leads to different attention and sensitivity to these outcome specifications. The difference in sensitivity to outcome specifications between forecasters and experiencers can lead to under-and overestimation of emotional response: High magnitude and low probability beget overestimation of future emotional response, whereas low magnitude and high probability beget underestimation.

Keywords

Affective Forecasting, Probability Sensitivity, Scope Sensitivity

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