The Role of Numerical Information on Consideration Set Formation and Persuasion

Pena Marin, Jorge
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Numerical information plays important roles in marketing. Earlier literature on numerical cognition has usually recommended using precise numbers. In the two chapters of this dissertation, I explore circumstances under which marketers would be better off using round ones. In the first chapter, I propose that the persuasiveness of precision is moderated by psychological distance. Building upon the premise that round (vs. precise) numbers are associated with longer (vs. shorter) psychological distance, I predicted and found that round numbers are more persuasive than precise ones when the judgmental target is psychologically distant, with the reverse being true for precise numbers. In the second chapter I look at situations where consumers choose from many alternatives using a two stages decision-making strategy (consideration set and final choice). Drawing on literature on decision-making, lay theories, and numerical cognition, I predicted and found that when creating a consideration set consumers rely more on a product attribute when it is described with round numbers instead of precise ones. However, when consumers make their final choice they weight more a product attributes when it is described using precise rather than round numbers. These findings contribute to several streams of research, including numerical cognition, persuasion, psychological distance, decision-making, lay theories, consideration set formation, as well as marketing practice.

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