IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Explanation Fiends and Foes: How Mechanistic Detail Determines Understanding and Preference

  • Philip M. Fernbach
  • Steven A. Sloman
  • Robert St. Louis
  • Julia N. Shube
Registered author(s):

    People differ in their threshold for satisfactory causal understanding and therefore in the type of explanation that will engender understanding and maximize the appeal of a novel product. Explanation fiends are dissatisfied with surface understanding and desire detailed mechanistic explanations of how products work. In contrast, explanation foes derive less understanding from detailed than coarse explanations and downgrade products that are explained in detail. Consumers’ attitude toward explanation is predicted by their tendency to deliberate, as measured by the cognitive reflection test. Cognitive reflection also predicts susceptibility to the illusion of explanatory depth, the unjustified belief that one understands how things work. When explanation foes attempt to explain, it exposes the illusion, which leads to a decrease in willingness to pay. In contrast, explanation fiends are willing to pay more after generating explanations. We hypothesize that those low in cognitive reflection are explanation foes because explanatory detail shatters their illusion of understanding.

    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.

    File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/667782
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/667782
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    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.

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 1115 - 1131

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/667782
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JCR/

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Alba, Joseph W & Hutchinson, J Wesley, 2000. " Knowledge Calibration: What Consumers Know and What They Think They Know," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 123-56, September.
    2. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
    3. Oechssler, Jörg & Roider, Andreas & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2009. "Cognitive abilities and behavioral biases," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 147-152, October.
    4. Uma R. Karmarkar & Zakary L. Tormala, 2010. "Believe Me, I Have No Idea What I'm Talking About: The Effects of Source Certainty on Consumer Involvement and Persuasion," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(6), pages 1033-1049, 04.
    5. Mick, David Glen, 1992. " Levels of Subjective Comprehension in Advertising Processing and Their Relations to Ad Perceptions, Attitudes, and Memory," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 411-24, March.
    6. Fox, Craig R & Tversky, Amos, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion and Comparative Ignorance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 585-603, August.
    7. Mukherjee, Ashesh & Hoyer, Wayne D, 2001. " The Effect of Novel Attributes on Product Evaluation," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 462-72, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/667782. 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.