Shaping Consumer Imaginations: The Role of Self-Focused Attention in Product Evaluations

Hung, Iris W; Wyer, Robert S
April 2011
Journal of Marketing Research (JMR);Apr2011, Vol. 48 Issue 2, p381
Academic Journal
Consumers' attraction to a product can often be based on the subjective reactions that they imagine they would have if they personally used it. Three experiments examine the effects of self-focused attention on the use of this criterion and the conditions in which it is applied. When features of the judgment (social or nonsocial) context are similar to those of the situation in which the products are normally used, self-focused attention increases participants' disposition to imagine themselves using the products they evaluate, and in turn, these imaginings increase both their evaluations of these products and their likelihood of choosing these products as a gift for taking part in the experiment. The effects occur when features of the judgment context are manipulated both by incidental background music and by the presence of others in the situation at hand. However, when either self-focused attention is low or features of the judgment context are dissimilar to those in which the products are normally used, these effects are not apparent.


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