Michal Maimaran
Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing

Kellogg School of Management
Kellogg KSM
 

      

     
 
 
Research Interests

Children Judgment and Decision Making, Consumer Judgment and Decision Making,
Nonconscious Effects on Consumer Behavior, Perceptual Effects on Judgment and Behavior

 
Teaching
Marketing Research, Full-Time and Part-Time MBA
 

Contact Information

Email: m-maimaran@kellogg.northwestern.edu
 
Phone: 1-847-491-7151
 
Mailing address:

Marketing Department
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University
2001 Sheridan Rd
Evanston, IL 60208-2001
USA

 

CV
 

 

 

 

     

 
Publications
 

Asymmetric Option Effects on Ease of Choice Criticism and Defense, with Thomas Kramer and Itamar Simonson, 2012, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 117 (1), 179-191

Individuals often criticize others’ choices and seek to defend their own.  In theory, the ease of criticizing a particular choice should correspond to the ease of defending this choice.  However, we propose that differences in the types of arguments put forth in choice criticism and defense often result in a systematic discrepancy in the ease with which of these two tasks are performed. We argue that criticism arguments tend to be based on norms but defense arguments on idiosyncratic preferences, such that the nature of the chosen option has a large impact when criticizing, but little effect when defending choices. A series of studies of choices between conventional and unconventional options demonstrates that options that are relatively easier to criticize may not be more difficult to defend. Our final study supports an information asymmetry mechanism driving the observed discrepancy between choice criticism and defense.

 

Multiple Routes to Self versus Other-Expression in Consumer Choice, with Itamar Simonson, 2011, Journal of Marketing Research, 48 (August) 755-766

Many consumer decision making studies begin with the identification of a dimension on which options differ (e.g., compromise versus extreme, utilitarian versus hedonic, sure versus risky), followed by an analysis of the factors that influence preferences along that dimension. Building on a conceptual analysis of a diverse set of problems, we propose that they all can be classified based on their levels of self-expression and other-expression (or conventionality). Accordingly, as we show in four studies, these problem types respond similarly to manipulations that trigger or suppress self-expression. Specifically, priming self-expression systematically increases the share of the self-expressive options (e.g., extreme, risky, and hedonic) across choice problems. Conversely, expecting to be evaluated decreases the share of the self-expressive options across the various choice dilemmas. Our findings highlight the importance of seeking underlying shared features across different consumer choice problems, instead of treating each type in isolation.

 

To Trade or Not to Trade: The Moderating Role of Vividness when Exchanging Gambles, 2011, Judgment and Decision Making, 6 (2), 147-155

 

Individuals are generally reluctant to trade goods—a phenomenon identified as the endowment effect. This paper focuses on consumers’ puzzling reluctance to exchange gambles, and in particular lottery tickets with identical distribution (i.e., same odds of winning), and identifies the ticket’s vividness as an important moderator. Three studies demonstrate that individuals are more willing to exchange less vivid lottery tickets (e.g., tickets concealed in envelopes, or tickets with an unknown number) compared to more vivid tickets (e.g., tickets not concealed in envelopes, or tickets with a known number)  when offered an incentive to exchange. Moreover, this effect is mediated by anticipated regret, such that less regret is anticipated when exchanging less vivid tickets, thus increasing individuals’ willingness to exchange tickets.

 

Circles, Squares, and Choice: The Effect of Shape Arrays on Uniqueness and Variety Seeking, with Christian Wheeler, 2008, Journal of Marketing Research, 45 (6) 731-740

Winner, Best Student Paper Award, Society for Consumer Psychology, February 2007

Five experiments demonstrate that exposure to novel visual stimulus arrays of geometric shapes affects consumers’ real choices among products. We first demonstrate that exposure to variety arrays (arrays of differing shapes) increases variety seeking (Study 1). We then show that exposure to uniqueness arrays (e.g., one circle among six squares) increases choice of unique over common objects (Studies 2 and 3) and interacts with chronic need for uniqueness (Study 3). In our last two studies, we show that variety and uniqueness arrays activate distinct constructs, as we find no effect of exposure to uniqueness arrays on variety seeking (Study 4a) and no effect of exposure to variety arrays on uniqueness seeking (Study 4b). Taken together, these studies build on the existing literature about nonconscious effects on consumer behavior, and choice behavior in particular, by showing that consumers’ real choices are affected by subtle exposure to novel stimuli that do not have any previous associations.

 
 
Papers under Review
 

If It’s Useful and You Know It, Do You Eat? Preschoolers Refrain From Instrumental Food, with Ayelet Fishbach, Under 3rd round of review at Journal of Consumer Research

Marketers, educators, and caregivers often refer to instrumental benefits to convince preschoolers to eat (e.g., “this food will make you strong”). We propose that preschoolers infer that if food is instrumental to achieve a goal, it is less tasty, and therefore they consume less of it. Accordingly, preschoolers (3-5.5 years old) rated crackers as less tasty and consumed fewer of them when the crackers were presented as instrumental to achieve a health goal (studies 1-2). In addition, preschoolers consumed fewer carrots and crackers when these were presented as instrumental to knowing how to read (study 3) and count (studies 4-5). This research supports an inference account for the negative impact of certain persuasive messages on consumption: preschoolers who are exposed to one association (e.g., between eating carrots and intellectual performance) infer another association (e.g., between carrots and taste) must be weaker.

   

Variety as a Preference Strength Signal, with Aner Sela, Revising for 2nd round at Journal of Consumer Research

To portray themselves in a favorable light, people often choose options with socially-desirable symbolic qualities. But when all the options in the choice-set have similar socially-desirable attributes, how might people choose? We propose that people may use the degree of variety in their selections to convey information, both to others and to themselves, about the strength of their preferences for options in the category and the extent to which the qualities of those options are related to their self-concept. Specifically, whereas prior research has shown that people unidirectionally choose more variety when self-presentation cues are present, we show in a series of field and lab studies that people choose less variety when they want to signal strong preferences for options in the category and to associate themselves with the symbolic qualities of those options. These findings have important implications for theories of variety-seeking and self-presentation, as well as for marketing practice.

   
 
Select Work in Progress
 

Priming and Contexts Effects among Children

 

Environmental Accounting, with Kelly Goldsmith

 
Cross Category Effects in Consumer Choice , with On Amir
 
The Positive Effects of Anger in Decision Making, with Ravi Dhar and Uzma Khan