ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (9): 1680-1688.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.01680

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The numerosity effects in consumer behavior

WU Yinghao, JIANG Jing*()   

  1. School of Business, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
  • Received:2017-08-02 Online:2018-09-15 Published:2018-07-30
  • Contact: Jing JIANG


Economists believe that individuals are absolutely rational when making decisions, that is, individuals’ preference remains consistent no matter how a specific entity is represented. Moreover, individuals tend to choose the most profitable option to maximize their utility. However, findings in the domain of consumer behavior reveal that the representation of numbers can trigger individuals’ irrationality and thereby affect their subsequent consumption decision and judgment. Individuals exhibit cognitive biases facing numerical representations in general and quantitative expressions in particular. Moreover, when numerosity effect is activated, individuals are more likely to trade off the utility maximization principle and make an irrational consumption decision. The current research therefore reviews how and why these numerosity effects bias consumers’ cognition, judgment, metaphorical association, information processing, and goal pursuit. Directions for future research in numerosity effect are also discussed.

Key words: number, numerosity effect, numerical representation, irrationality, consumer behavior

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