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Integrating Multiple Opinions: The Role of Aspiration Level on Consumer Response to Critic Consensus

Patricia M West and Susan M Broniarczyk

Journal of Consumer Research, 1998, vol. 25, issue 1, 38-51

Abstract: Four studies examine the process by which consumers integrate critic opinions and attribute information into their product evaluations and how critic consensus affects this process. A reference-dependent model is proposed such that consumer response to consensus depends on whether the average critic rating for an alterative is above or below an aspiration level. Consensus is shown to be preferred for alternatives above an aspiration level, whereas critic disagreement is preferred for alternatives below an aspiration level. Consumers exhibited a tendency to prefer critic disagreement for high-priced products or decisions associated with high social risk because most alternatives fell below their high aspiration levels. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

Date: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:25:y:1998:i:1:p:38-51