For most forms of conscious consumer choice, product attributes serve as the means that consumers use to accomplish their goals. Because there is competition between products in the marketplace, consumption decisions typically present conflict between means to achieve a goal. In this paper we examine the consequences of conflict between regulatory means on consumers' decisions and show that the resolution depends upon whether the means—that is, the attributes—are compatible with the consumer's regulatory orientation. We show that compatibility with more than one attribute arouses acute decision conflict, and evokes decision processes that result in a pronounced tendency to make counter-normative choices. We also show that incompatibility with a product's attributes lead to choosing extreme alternatives that suggest the presence of a "pick your poison" effect. We test our hypotheses using the attraction, compromise, and deferral paradigms. We close by discussing our results in the context of the Lewinian view of decision conflict.
Journal of Consumer Researchvol.
37, (October 01, 2010):