Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Explanation Fiends and Foes: How Mechanistic Detail Determines Understanding and Preference

Philip M. Fernbach, Steven A. Sloman, Robert St. Louis and Julia N. Shube
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 39, No. 5 (February 2013), pp. 1115-1131
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/667782
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/667782
Page Count: 17
  • Download ($14.00)
  • Cite this Item
Item Type
Article
References
Explanation Fiends and Foes: How Mechanistic Detail Determines
                    Understanding and Preference
Preview not available

Abstract

People differ in their threshold for satisfactory causal understanding and therefore in the type of explanation that will engender understanding and maximize the appeal of a novel product. Explanation fiends are dissatisfied with surface understanding and desire detailed mechanistic explanations of how products work. In contrast, explanation foes derive less understanding from detailed than coarse explanations and downgrade products that are explained in detail. Consumers’ attitude toward explanation is predicted by their tendency to deliberate, as measured by the cognitive reflection test. Cognitive reflection also predicts susceptibility to the illusion of explanatory depth, the unjustified belief that one understands how things work. When explanation foes attempt to explain, it exposes the illusion, which leads to a decrease in willingness to pay. In contrast, explanation fiends are willing to pay more after generating explanations. We hypothesize that those low in cognitive reflection are explanation foes because explanatory detail shatters their illusion of understanding.

Page Thumbnails