Effects of Construal Level on Omission Detection and Multiattribute Evaluation

Academic Article


  • ABSTRACTResearch has demonstrated that consumers are commonly insensitive to missing information and that this insensitivity can lead them to form strong beliefs and evaluations on the basis of weak evidence. A growing body of research has shown that sensitivity to omissions can be heightened and that this increased sensitivity results in more appropriate evaluations. Expanding on this, the current research finds that the level of abstraction by which a situation is construed can influence the likelihood of omission detection and the resulting evaluative judgments. A series of studies reveal that people are more likely to spontaneously detect omissions in near vs. distant judgments, in concrete vs. abstract mindsets, and when they are inherently more likely to interpret actions in concrete vs. abstract terms. Further, although prior findings suggest that people may have differential sensitivity to primary and secondary missing features at different levels of construal, the current research finds no such difference. The results of this study indicate that people are more sensitive to all types of missing information when construal levels are low, and that this sensitivity leads to more moderate and appropriate judgments.
  • Authors

  • Pfeiffer, Bruce
  • Deval, Helene
  • Kardes, Frank R
  • Ewing, Douglas R
  • Han, Xiaoqi
  • Cronley, Maria L
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • November 2014
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 992
  • End Page

  • 1007
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 11