From Inherent Value to Incentive Value: When and Why Pointless Effort Enhances Consumer Preference
Companies typically use clear fonts and bright pictures in their ads, Web sites, and product-package designs; place their products on easy-to-reach shelves; and emphasize ease-of-usage to make their products appear desirable to consumers. However, we suggest that customers focused on “incentive” value (getting the best product) may instead see products associated with noninstrumental (pointless) effort as more desirable. We suggest that because effort is usually required to get the best outcomes, people looking for the best outcomes also mistakenly presume effort must imply the best possible outcome. Across five studies, we show that highlighting incentive value—for instance, by message framing or by measuring chronic focus or by manipulating situational focus on incentive value—enhances preference toward outcomes associated with noninstrumental effort. We discuss the importance of our findings for understanding everyday consumption decisions and argue for a widespread tendency among individuals wanting the best to infer value from noninstrumental effort.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/660806. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.