Predicting Consumption Time: The Role of Event Valence and Unpacking
How much time do consumers predict they will spend on using a product or service when they have control over the usage time? We propose that their predicted consumption time is systematically influenced by the valence and the representation of the target event. In three studies, we show that consumers predict spending more time on a pleasant event when it is unpacked into several subactivities and spending less time on an unpleasant event when it is unpacked. We also investigate the underlying mechanism and demonstrate that (1) people have a lay belief that they spend more (less) time on more (less) pleasant events and (2) unpacking increases the intensity of predicted consumption experience. We further show that these changes in time predictions influence consumption decisions and address alternative explanations, including mood, mood regulation, and attention. In closing, we discuss theoretical and managerial implications.
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