Intuitive Numerical Information Processes in Consumer Judgment

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Virginia Tech

Numerical information is ubiquitous in modern life. The prevalence of numerical information in the marketplace necessitates understanding how consumers handle and interpret that information, for both theoretical and practical reasons. Past research has largely focused on consumers’ encoding of numbers, calculative limitations, and usage of heuristics. This dissertation will contribute to this burgeoning literature in several ways. First, I identify a general tendency in how consumers calculate ratios based on an intuitive model of division. Specifically, consumers tend to divide larger numbers by smaller numbers. The intuitive model of division has marketing implications for both consumers’ evaluations of quantity offers and sensitivities to promotions. Next, I examine how consumers draw inferences from distributional information. In contrast to the assumption that consumers utilize means to assess central tendency, I demonstrate that consumers use the modal response to judge what is typical, with implications for consumers’ inferences about product ratings and other social distributions.

promotion sensitivity, price sensitivity, unit pricing, package pricing, division, calculations, product reviews, ratings, distributions, mode, online word-of-mouth