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The Categorization of Time and Its Impact on Task Initiation

Yanping Tu and Dilip Soman
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 41, No. 3 (October 2014), pp. 810-822
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/677840
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/677840
Page Count: 13
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The Categorization of Time and Its Impact on Task Initiation
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Abstract

It could be argued that success in life is a function of a consumer’s ability to get things done. The key step in getting things done is to get started. This research explores the effect of the categorization of time on task initiation. Specifically, we theorize that consumers use a variety of cues to categorize future points in time (events) into either events that are like the present event or those that are unlike the present event. When the deadline of a task is categorized in a like-the-present category, it triggers the default implemental mind-set and hence results in a greater likelihood of task initiation. A series of field and lab studies among farmers in India and undergraduate and MBA students in North America provided support to this theorizing. Our findings have implication for goal-striving strategy and choice architecture.

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