Evaluating the Benefits of Distraction on Product Evaluations: The Mind‐Set Effect
Past research in consumer behavior typically assumes that distraction during the decision process needs to be avoided. However, a common piece of advice given to consumers who have to make complex decisions is to distract their attention away from the decision problem for some moments. The current research shows that distraction can indeed help consumers to differentiate attractive from unattractive products. Yet this occurs only for consumers with a configural mind‐set who tend to form coherent representations of products in their memory. For consumers with a featural mind‐set, who typically hold mixed product representations, distraction does not affect product evaluations. This implies that it is the specific processing mind‐set of consumers that determines whether distraction leads to more product differentiation or not.
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