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