The Slippery Slope: The Impact of Feature Alignability on Search and Satisfaction

Griffin, Jill G; Broniarczyk, Susan M
April 2010
Journal of Marketing Research (JMR);Apr2010, Vol. 47 Issue 2, p323
Academic Journal
This research challenges the notion that increased search effort results in greater satisfaction with the choice by examining the impact of alignability on search quantity and search outcomes. Options that vary along comparable dimensions are alignable, whereas options that vary along unique dimensions are nonalignable. The results of three studies demonstrate greater search among nonalignable than among alignable options. Satisfaction initially increases but then declines with further search among nonalignable options. Although choice difficulty influences search and satisfaction, the primary mechanism driving the inverted U-shaped relationship of satisfaction with search among nonalignable options is feature learning. This research demonstrates a paradox: People continue searching more options precisely when their further search is detrimental to their satisfaction, falling down the slippery slope of search.


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