ME  Vol.6 No.2 , February 2015
The Effect of Temporal Distance and Social Distance on the Choice of Consumers’ Preferences
ABSTRACT
Temporal distance is defined as how much time (e.g., past or future) separates between the perceiver’s present time and the target event. Social distance is defined as how distinct is the social target from the perceiver’s self (e.g., oneself vs others). The interpretation of events will change as different psychological distance changes (e.g., Temporal Distance, Spatial Distance, Social Distance) and then affect people’s reactions, judgment and decision-making. In real life, consumers often have to make a choice between two types of products: one of them is often called the “virtue products”, and the other one was accordingly called the “vice products”. This study uses experimental methods to explore the influence of temporal distance and social distance on the choice of consumers’ preference and obtains the following conclusions: 1) When consumers make choices for themselves, compared to now, they are more inclined to choose the virtue product at a future time; when consumers make choices for others, compared to now, they are more inclined to choose the virtue product at a future time; when consumers make choices now, compared to choose for themselves, they are more inclined to choose virtue products for others; when consumers make choices at a future time, compared to choose for themselves , they are more inclined to choose virtue products for others; 2) The ANOVA of eye movements data on virtue products (i.e., fixation length and fixation count) showed that main effects of temporal distance and social distance were significant, but there was not interaction between both factors.

Cite this paper
Liu, Y. and Xu, J. (2015) The Effect of Temporal Distance and Social Distance on the Choice of Consumers’ Preferences. Modern Economy, 6, 275-282. doi: 10.4236/me.2015.62024.
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