The comparative mind-set: From animal comparisons to increased purchase intentions

Alison Jing Xu, Robert S. Wyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Stimulating people to state a preference for one of two commercial products can increase their willingness to purchase not only one of these products, but also other products in a totally unrelated domain. However, willingness to make a purchase in a given domain (e.g., computers) can also be increased by asking individuals (a) to indicate which of two stimuli in a different domain (e.g., vacation packages) they dislike more, (b) to compare the relative attractiveness of wild animals, (c) to compare the animals with respect to physical attributes, and (d) to estimate how similar one object is to another. Moreover, the effects generalize to decisions about dating partners, as well as consumer products. In short, making any type of comparative judgment appears likely to give rise to a comparative-judgment mind-set and, therefore, to influence decisions in subsequent situations. ©

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)859-864
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by Grants HKUST6053/01H, HKUST6194/04H, and HKUST6192/04H from the Research Grants Council, Hong Kong.


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