Title

Building Toward a Solid Foundation: The Effect of Thinking Concretely about the Future

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-2021

Publisher

Wiley

Source Publication

Journal of Consumer Affairs

Source ISSN

0022-0078

Abstract

According to construal level theory, consumers tend to think about their future abstractly, making it unclear and inexact. Here, a new approach is developed to help people enhance their future‐oriented outcomes by priming them to think about their future concretely. Two experiments show that priming a concrete mindset about the future leads to enhanced future‐oriented outcomes. Specifically, the studies show that participants discounted current funds in favor of future gains less when they were primed with a concrete mindset. Opportunity cost consideration is shown to be the mechanism driving this effect. Though research suggests that most consumers do not consider opportunity costs unless they are explicitly presented to them, priming a concrete mindset increases consideration of opportunity costs so that consumers can make better current decisions that will enhance their future‐oriented outcomes. This research helps to better understand why thinking concretely about the future is beneficial to future‐oriented outcomes.

Comments

Journal of Consumer Affairs, Vol. 55, No. 1 (March 2021): 254-273. DOI.

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