اثرات غیر آگاهانه از باورهای عجیب و غریب در روانشناسی مصرف کننده و انتخاب
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|5029||2011||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Consumer Psychology, Volume 21, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 101–111
Irrational or illogical beliefs are referred to variously as magical thinking, peculiar beliefs, superstitious beliefs, and half-beliefs. We first distinguish the various terms according to their most common and relevant usage for consumer psychologists and define a conceptual structure for the roles of conscious and nonconscious processes associated with peculiar beliefs in decision-making. We present a study that provides initial evidence of the effect of nonconscious, experiential processing on the impact of peculiar beliefs in a consumer auction-based sales scenario. We also offer propositions that extend the theory on peculiar beliefs to their nonconscious effects on consumer psychology and choice.
Nearly half (48%) of Americans believe in ghosts (Alfano, 2005), 23% of Americans have seen one or been in the presence of one, and one in five believe that spells or witchcraft are real (Handwerk, 2009). Likely, many readers of this article will note these statistics, scoff at the absurdity of others, and then unwittingly proceed to knock on wood, don a lucky hat for the football game, or refrain from sharing news of a potential positive event for fear of jinxing it. Such common irrational or illogical beliefs, which often play an important part in people's lives (Berenbaum, Boden, & Baker, 2009), illustrate that peculiar beliefs may be consciously rejected yet still have an impact on consumer psychology and decision-making on a nonconscious level. Irrational or illogical beliefs are referred to variously as magical thinking, peculiar beliefs, superstitious beliefs, and half-beliefs. Moreover, the definitions of these terms vary across fields and across researchers, which can make it difficult to generalize results across studies. In this article, we first distinguish and define the various terms according to their most common and relevant usage for consumer psychologists. Given the increase in articles appearing in consumer behavior journals on superstition and magical beliefs, it is important to distinguish these types of peculiar beliefs because such conceptual clarity will enable greater theoretical progress. As well, the current state of the literature does not adequately address whether the underpinnings of peculiar beliefs are consciously or non-consciously derived. While the simultaneous activation of conscious and nonconscious components of peculiar beliefs is implied in the anthropological, psychological, and consumer work in this domain, to date only a few studies provide direct empirical evidence of the same. To address this limitation of the literature, we report findings from a study that provides initial evidence of the effect of nonconscious, experiential processing on the impact of peculiar beliefs in a consumer auction-based sales scenario. Finally, extant research on peculiar beliefs has progressed in isolation; we provide theoretical bridges to other conceptually related domains in consumer psychology through propositions that extend the theory on peculiar beliefs to their nonconscious effects on consumer psychology and choice. Our intention with this manuscript is to foster future academic work in this area by (1) suggesting a common language through definitions, (2) presenting a conceptual framework for analysis of the conscious and nonconscious components of peculiar beliefs, and (3) offering potential areas for future consumer research via proposition testing.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
It is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and end as superstitions. T. H. Huxley This article provides an exposition of peculiar beliefs and their potential impact on decision-making outside of consumers' awareness. Such a discussion is warranted by the fact that research on peculiar beliefs has started appearing in consumer and marketing journals, yet terms have been inconsistently applied, and investigations into the differential impact of conscious and nonconscious components on consumer psychology are scarce. We started by defining and distinguishing between types of peculiar beliefs that are most relevant to consumer psychologists to aid in the advancement of theories in the field. We then presented a study that extended the literature on peculiar beliefs by providing the first instantiation of the impact of nonconscious, experiential processing of such beliefs on selling decisions, thus demonstrating backward contagion effects in the marketplace. We advanced a framework to illuminate the roles of conscious and nonconscious processes associated with peculiar beliefs in decision-making, and ended with propositions that extend the theory on peculiar beliefs to their conscious and nonconscious effects on consumer decision-making and choice. Although we examined the general impact of peculiar beliefs in decision-making, their effect clearly will not be the same for all consumers alike. Two important individual difference variables likely to impact the reliance on peculiar beliefs are a consumer's level of self-efficacy and level of competitive tendencies. Self-efficacy describes one's perceived ability to perform a task (Bandura, 1982 and Hu et al., 2007), such that individuals low in self-efficacy tend to be less motivated to perform a particular task because they believe their current skills are not sufficient to achieve the desired outcome (Noe & Wilk, 1993). For example, Srivastava, Strutton, and Pelton (2001) found that the greater salespeople's self-efficacy, the greater their sales effort. This literature suggests that consumers low in self-efficacy might be more likely to resort to peculiar beliefs because of their perceived inability to perform a particular task. In addition to self-efficacy, reliance on peculiar beliefs should also be greater for individuals who chronically focus on winning or being the best, namely, those with greater competitive tendencies. Much research has demonstrated that athletes are a highly superstitious group. Further, Langer (1975) showed that competition increased the illusion of control. Competitiveness as a trait has received only scant attention in the marketing literature (e.g., Mowen, 2004 and Puri, 1996). However, greater consumer competitiveness should be associated with a greater impact of peculiar beliefs. For example, consumers high (vs. low) in competitive tendencies might be more likely to tie the knot on a lucky date to guarantee a good marriage. Nemeroff and Rozin (2000) lamented that magical and superstitious thinking was “a label for a residual category—a garbage can filled with various odds and ends that we do not otherwise know what to do with.” Fortunately, with the recent proliferation of marketing studies on superstitions and magical thinking, their lament is less applicable today. In addition to the clarification and links to decision-making presented in this paper, what are also needed at this stage are theoretical bridges to other conceptually related domains in consumer psychology. Important extensions of the effects of peculiar beliefs on consumer behavior can potentially be derived from studying the literature on automatic brand effects. Fitzsimons, Chartrand, and Fitzsimons (2008) presented seminal work documenting the translation of social priming effects to the consumer brand context. Specifically, they demonstrate the existence of brand priming effects on behavior such that consumers behave in line with the characteristics of the brand, and that they do so without conscious awareness of the brand's influence. However, these automatic effects are limited to goal-relevant brands that evoke goal-directed behavior. Similar motivational processes (rather than purely cognitive evaluative processes) underlie the automatic, or non-conscious, effects of peculiar beliefs on behavior. For superstitious behaviors, for example, the need to control or reduce uncertainty might emulate goal-directed motivation. Interestingly, there is no research specifically linking superstitions or other peculiar beliefs to goal activation or fulfillment. The intersection between these two as of yet disparate literatures might reveal valuable brand and product specific effects of peculiar beliefs. One specific product domain particularly applicable to the intersection of peculiar beliefs and goal-directed behavior is homeopathic medicine. Homeopathic medicine is a medical system developed in Germany more than 200 years ago. Interestingly, the principles of homeopathy mirror those of magical thinking. The first principle of similarity, that “like cures like,” states that a disease can be cured by producing similar symptoms in healthy people (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2009). The second principle, the law of dilutions (“law of minimum dose”), postulates that the lower the dose, the greater the effect because the process of potentization transmits original energy (or information or essence) to the new substance. According to an NIH survey, almost 4 million US adults and 1 million children spent $3 billion on homeopathic remedies for a variety of wellness and prevention remedies including ear infections, depression, and headaches (NCCAM, 2009). With health care costs continually rising along with the number of uninsured Americans, the popularity of alternative medicine, like homeopathic medicines, is increasing. Understanding the consumer psychology behind these decisions in general and homeopathic purchase decisions in particular in light of consumers' magical thinking is therefore increasingly important. Currently, homeopathic remedies are regulated by the FDA but do not have to undergo the same rigorous safety and efficacy testing as prescription drugs and new OTC drugs because of the low dosage (NCCAM, 2009). If systematic patterns in consumers' search for, purchase, or use of these homeopathic “magical” remedies exist, this could have substantial policy implications. Future research should also explore the interaction or synergistic effects of various forms of peculiar beliefs. For example, a report just released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life documents that superstitious and magical thinking is on the rise in the United States, with those who identify as Christians more likely to believe (Blow, 2009). According the report, 16% of Protestants and 17% of Catholics believe that there are people who can cast “evil eyes” to cause harm to other individuals (Blow, 2009). Since understanding consumer cultures is the underpinning of marketing success, it is important for consumer researchers to acknowledge these trends and document their effects on consumer attitudes and decision behaviors in order to better support marketing practitioners, policy makers, and consumers themselves.