Consumer Preference Development

Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 29, pp. 406-407, 2002

Posted: 4 Aug 2011 Last revised: 20 Nov 2012

See all articles by Steve Hoeffler

Steve Hoeffler

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Date Written: 2002


The objective of the session was to explore several dimensions of consumer preference development. One of the clear themes that ran through all three talks was the critical impact of experience. In addition, all three talks took the more difficult approach of manipulating the level or type of experience in a meaningful way.

The Ariely, Loewenstein, and Prelec talk looked at the impact of anchors on preference development in a completely novel hedonic environment. In four experiments, they showed that consumers’ pricing of a simple hedonic stimulus (an unpleasant sound played over headphones) is not consistent with fundamental valuation in that it is powerfully influenced by non-informative anchor-values. The Hoeffler and West presentation looked at the combination of context and experience and the corresponding impact on preference consolidation or the acquiring of tastes. In their last study (Study 5), they begin to piece apart the critical mechanisms associated with both preference consolidation and "acquiring of taste." Lastly, the Wood talk looked at the impact of the level of expertise on learning in really new product environments. Results from this research highlight the differential roles of motivational cues and overconfidence in new product learning performance.

While the presentations had an extremely high overlap in terms of the substantive area, the variety of methods was quite stunning. The Ariely, Loewenstein, and Prelec talk used was based on laboratory studies with a completely novel stimulus (aversive sounds) to investigate the influence of anchors. Hoeffler and West used both surveys with follow-up taste tests and experimental manipulations with actual products (e.g., the making of lemonade) to investigate preference formation. Wood uses both interviews and experiments to investigate consumer learning for really new products.

Suggested Citation

Hoeffler, Steve, Consumer Preference Development (2002). Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 29, pp. 406-407, 2002, Available at SSRN:

Steve Hoeffler (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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