Marketing Papers

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Technical Report

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Journal of Consumer Psychology





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This research examines the ability of consumers to predict the appeal of complete visual patterns from small sample fragments. In a task designed to mimic the dilemma of choosing wallpaper from small swatches, study participants are shown fragments taken from a large pattern design and are asked to predict how attractive they would find the complete image. Drawing on prior research on affective forecasting, predictions are hypothesized to be driven by an anchoring‐and‐adjustment process that skews forecasts toward the attractiveness of fragments when judged in isolation. Results from 3 laboratory studies support this basic hypothesis: Respondents consistently overestimate the degree to which their initial reactions to fragments predict their subsequent evaluations of wholes. The size of this projection bias is, in turn, conditioned by such moderators as prior familiarity with product fragment, cognitive load, and visualization abilities—effects that are consistent with an anchoring‐and‐adjustment explanation for the data.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Zhao, S. & Meyer, R.J. Biases in Predicting Preferences for the Whole Visual Patterns from Product Fragments. Journal of Consumer Psychology 17, no. 4: 292-304, which has been published in final form at

This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving:



Date Posted: 15 June 2018

This document has been peer reviewed.