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Inference Effects without Inference Making? Effects of Missing Information on Discounting and Use of Presented Information


  • Simmons, Carolyn J
  • Lynch, John G, Jr


Subjects evaluated a focal set of single-attribute product descriptions along with descriptions of competing brands that systematically altered what attributes subjects perceived as missing from the product descriptions. This manipulation selectively increased thoughts about undescribed attributes and led to (1) reduced effects of described-attribute levels on product evaluations and (2) lowered evaluations of a target set of products. In the past, similar effects have been interpreted as evidence that subjects incorporated inferred missing-attribute values in their evaluations. However, the results of the present study suggest that neither effect was mediated by inferencemaking. Process tracing data showed that noting an attribute as missing was usually not followed by inferences about its value. Copyright 1991 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Simmons, Carolyn J & Lynch, John G, Jr, 1991. " Inference Effects without Inference Making? Effects of Missing Information on Discounting and Use of Presented Information," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 477-491, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:17:y:1991:i:4:p:477-91

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    2. Davies, Antony & Cline, Thomas W., 2005. "A consumer behavior approach to modeling monopolistic competition," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 797-826, December.
    3. Larceneux, Fabrice & Carpenter, Marie, 2008. "Third party labeling and the consumer decision process," HEC Research Papers Series 891, HEC Paris.
    4. Thomas Kramer & Caglar Irmak & Lauren Block & Veronika Ilyuk, 2012. "The effect of a no-pain, no-gain lay theory on product efficacy perceptions," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 517-529, September.
    5. Marc Jekel & Andreas Glockner & Arndt Broder & Viktoriya Maydych, 2014. "Approximating rationality under incomplete information: Adaptive inferences for missing cue values based on cue-discrimination," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 9(2), pages 129-147, March.
    6. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2018. "Shrouded attributes, consumer myopia and information suppression in competitive markets," Chapters,in: Handbook of Behavioral Industrial Organization, chapter 3, pages 40-74 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Sanjay K. Dhar & Claudia González-Vallejo & Dilip Soman, 1999. "Modeling the Effects of Advertised Price Claims: Tensile Versus Precise Claims?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(2), pages 154-177.
    8. Andrea Stanaland & May Lwin & Patrick Murphy, 2011. "Consumer Perceptions of the Antecedents and Consequences of Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 102(1), pages 47-55, August.
    9. Ting Li & Robert J. Kauffman & Eric van Heck & Peter Vervest & Benedict G. C. Dellaert, 2014. "Consumer Informedness and Firm Information Strategy," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 25(2), pages 345-363, June.
    10. Heyes, Anthony & Martin, Steve, 2016. "Fuzzy products," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 1-9.
    11. Hasford, Jonathan & Farmer, Adam, 2016. "Responsible you, despicable me: Contrasting competitor inferences from socially responsible behavior," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 1234-1241.
    12. Simonson, Itamar & Kivetz, Ran, 2000. "The Effects of Incomplete Information on Consumer Choice," Research Papers 1609, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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    14. Christine Ye & J. Cronin & John Peloza, 2015. "The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Consumer Evaluation of Nutrition Information Disclosure by Retail Restaurants," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 130(2), pages 313-326, August.
    15. Shih-Chieh Chuang & Danny Tengti Kao & Yin-Hui Cheng & Chu-An Chou, 2012. "The effect of incomplete information on the compromise effect," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(2), pages 196-204, March.
    16. Moon, Junyean & Tikoo, Surinder, 1997. "Consumer Use of Available Information for Making Inferences about Missing Information," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 135-146, June.
    17. Gunasti, Kunter & Ross, William T., 2015. "The effects of compensatory inferences for attributes on the choice of incomplete product options," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 1136-1144.

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