Subjective Expertise and Consumption Enjoyment
Consumers’ beliefs can influence enjoyment via beliefs about a product (e.g., whether a wine is believed to be high quality) and explored beliefs about themselves (e.g., where the consumers believes they have the expertise to appreciate any high qualities in a wine). Across nine experiments in five domains (e.g. film, tea, wine) we seek to better understand this latter and far less understood component by experimentally altering people’s subjective expertise (beliefs about ability in a consumption domain) independent of their real expertise and independent of real or framed differences in products’ qualities. We find subjective expertise alone generally increases two sources of enjoyments, item enjoyment (the enjoyment of an item’s qualities such as liking an item’s flavor) and process enjoyment (the enjoyment of consumer processes such as critically evaluating an item’s flavor). Importantly though, when consumption items are perceived to be lower quality, the subjective expertise effect on item enjoyment is eliminated but remains positive for process enjoyment. Additionally, subjective expertise leads consumers to engage in more actions and effort to improve their consumption (e.g. stirring a drink, learning more about a consumption item). This project improves general understanding of consumer expertise and consumer beliefs, finds subjective expertise has unique and often diverging effects on two sources of enjoyment important to everyday consumption, and demonstrates how and when subjective expertise can be altered to effectively enhance consumer enjoyment.
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