Improving Temporal Consistency of Preferences: The Influence of Mental Construal


  • Asli Elif Aydin


Majority of the current literature on mental construal has focused on effects of varying construal levels on preference shifts whereas this research investigates the influence of mental construal on the change of preference consistency over time. Building on construal level theory, we propose that high-level construal, which creates abstract, and decontextualized mental representations, leads individuals to more consistent preferences than low-level construal, which creates concrete, and contextualized mental representations. Furthermore we examine the effect of having a matching versus non-matching construal level at two different evaluation instances, on achieving greater extents of consistency. To test this prediction a mixed experimental design is employed, in which participants evaluated electronic products at two different sessions. It is demonstrated that when participants have the same construal level at two points in time, their evaluations become similar since they mentally construe the objects in the same way whereas when the construal level differs at these two points, participants focus on different aspects of the products, form different evaluations and have less consistent preferences.