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Darren Dahl (Editor in Chief)Eileen FischerGita JoharVicki Morwitz

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The Time Course and Impact of Consumers' Erroneous Beliefs about Hedonic Contrast Effects

Nathan Novemsky, Rebecca K. Ratner
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/346246 507-516 First published online: 1 March 2003


Results from four experiments indicate that people expect to enjoy an experience more when it will follow a worse experience. We find that consumers expect hedonic contrast effects even when they do not experience such effects. Whereas individuals remember the absence of contrast effects after a short delay (study 1), individuals reporting retrospective judgments after a long delay (study 2) recalled that they had experienced contrast effects. These biased memories about contrast effects are eliminated when individuals focus on enjoyment during the experience. The present experiments document the time course of erroneous beliefs about contrast effects, mechanisms underlying their resistance to change, and the impact of these expectations about contrast effects on consumer choice.

  • Aesthetic/Hedonic Consumption
  • Assmilation/Contrast
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Memory
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