Recommended Reading / Theory

Goal Reversion in Consumer Choice

Carlson article

Goal Reversion in Consumer Choice
Kurt A. Carlson, Margaret G. Meloy, and Elizabeth G. Miller

Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 39, No. 5 (February 2013), pp. 918-930
Published by: The University of Chicago Press

[Registration required to access full article]

How do consumers manage goal conflicts before they make a choice? The question was studied by examining emerging preferences in choices involving two products that were means to conflicting goals. These preference patters revealed that an initially active goal, which had been set aside to reconcile a goal conflict, exerted greater than expected influence on the remainder of the choice process. The influence was manifest in a tendency for consumers to revert to the product aligned with the initially active goal upon seeing information that objectively favored neither product.

See also: You Can’t Always Get What You Want: Consumers Struggle With Competing Goals


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