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Advances in Psychological Science    2012, Vol. 20 Issue (11) : 1709-1717     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2012.01709
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A New Perspective on Consumer Decision: Double-entry Mental Accounting Theory
LI Ai-Mei;HAO Mei;LI Li;LING Wen-Quan
Management School, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
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Abstract  Prelec and Loewenstein (1998) introduced a “double-entry” mental accounting theory, in which one set of entries recorded the “net” utility derived from consumption after subtracting the disutility of associated payments, and the other set recorded the "net" disutility of payments after subtracting the utility of associated consumption. The mental coupling of payment and consumption increased the pain of paying and reduced the pleasure of consumption, indicating a big coefficient of pleasure attenuation (a). While the mental decoupling of payment and consumption reduced the perceived cost of the activity and therefore boosted the likelihood of enjoying the consumption, indicating a big coefficient of pain buffering (b). Several findings are summarized: a small coefficient of pleasure attenuation (a) is perceived when consumption is after payment, while a small coefficient of pain buffering (b) is perceived when payment is after consumption. It is also found that luxury has a big coefficient of pleasure attenuation (a), while necessity has a big coefficient of pain buffering (b). The tightwad has a big coefficient of pleasure attenuation (a) and the spendthrift has a big coefficient of pain buffering (b). Additionally, the psychological mechanism of coupling, such as debt aversion and negative time preference, payment depreciation etc., and the advices to behavior decision are discussed. And meanwhile, new perspective and research subject on consumer behavior decision are proposed.
Keywords “double-entry&rdquo      mental accounting      coupling      coefficient of pleasure attenuation      coefficient of pain buffering      consumer decision     
Corresponding Authors: LI Ai-Mei   
Issue Date: 01 November 2012
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LI Ai-Mei,HAO Mei,LI Li, et al. A New Perspective on Consumer Decision: Double-entry Mental Accounting Theory[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2012, 20(11): 1709-1717.
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