Searching Ordered Sets: Evaluations from Sequences under Search
Consumers often search for and choose from ordered sets, commonly from options listed from best to worst. Normatively, such declining orderings maximize expected value from search and should lead to more positive evaluations of the experience compared to searching improving orderings. We demonstrate, however, that amount of search moderates consumers' evaluations of declining versus improving orderings. Search from different orderings exposes consumers to sequences of options characterized by different key psychological moments (trend and end) as well as to different levels of average quality. Greater search can lead to more positive evaluations for improving versus declining orderings because consumers experience more positive moments on which to base their evaluation. Supporting the proposed model, we show that overall evaluations are influenced by differences in these key moments over and above quality changes of the set. (c) 2005 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
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