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The influence of selective attention and inattention to products on subsequent choice


Journal of Consumer Research



Authors / Editors

Janiszewski C;Kuo A;Tavassoli N T


Publication Year



A fundamental assumption of choice models is that products are valued for the benefits they provide. The only non-benefit-based source of preference is the processing fluency (e.g., ease of perceiving, encoding, comprehending, or retrieving information) that results from prior exposure to the product. This research documents an additional source of non-benefit-based “preference formation.” Repeatedly allocating attention to a product (selective attention) and away from other products (inattention) subsequently influences choices between these products and competing products. Five experiments show that prior selective attention (inattention) to a product increases the likelihood the product will be selected (rejected) in a subsequent choice. Demonstrating that prior acts of attention can influence subsequent choices has implications for any visually complex environment in which marketers communicate about a brand (e.g., banner advertising, packaging). The results also speak to how stimulus-based choices can have enduring consequences.

Available on ECCH


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