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Optimal Visualization Aids and Temporal Framing for New Products

Min Zhao, Darren W. Dahl and Steve Hoeffler

Journal of Consumer Research, 2014, vol. 41, issue 4, 1137 - 1151

Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests that more concrete and detailed information is helpful in evaluating new products. The current research, however, demonstrates that when consumers use visualization to evaluate new products, the value of concrete versus abstract visualization is dependent on the temporal perspective taken by the consumer. Specifically, concrete information is beneficial when product visualization is retrospective in nature (i.e., focused on the past), whereas abstract information is found to be more helpful when product visualization is anticipatory in nature (i.e., geared toward the future). This occurs because the match between visualization aids and consumers' temporal construal facilitates the extent of imagery processing realized, which, in turn, enhances new product evaluation. When the new product is very difficult to visualize, this pattern of effects is attenuated. Further, the effect is reversed when the product is highly familiar (i.e., not a new product), as preexisting memories are shown to hinder imagery processing. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Date: 2014
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