Date: Friday March 8, 2013
Speaker: Dr. Theodore J. Noseworthy
Topics: Learn from Yesterday, Live for Today, Hope for Tomorrow: Is Temporally Inconsistent Preference Really the Result of Goal-dependent Construals?
Extant research suggests that personal goals predict whether a product’s features will constitute a high-level construal (central to the goal) or a low-level construal (peripheral to the goal). Given that people focus on low-level construals when imagining the near term, and high-level construals when imagining the distant future, goal-dependent construals can lead to temporally inconsistent preference. The results of three studies offer an alternate account for this phenomenon by demonstrating that when people simulate the future, they tend to imagine historic usage routines. These routines serve as situational goals that override personal goals. Hence, future estimates of preference and prototypicality align more with how one imagines using the product, irrespective of the personal goal. Personal goals only carry weight when simulating the near term. The results suggest that preference inconsistency overtime may have more to do with ‘what’ people simulate, rather than ‘how’ they simulate.