‘Implications of Counterfactual Thinking for Sustainable Service Consumption’
by Semih Yılmaz
California State University East Bay
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Meeting ID: 683 469 0808
Counterfactual thinking is a cognitive process where ‘what could have happened’ is imagined by changing or modifying an anteceding event or element usually from the past (e.g., “I could have caught my flight if I had taken a cab earlier”). Ubiquitous yet long-overlooked, counterfactuals have increasingly been shown to have a functional potential – they may increase saliency of the undesirable elements in the environment, create meaningful causal links, initiate behavioral goals and eventually result in behavioral improvement. In this seminar, the utility of counterfactual thoughts is discussed, and empirical evidence is presented in relation to a consumer domain that is plagued by an infamous attitude-behavior gap: sustainable service consumption. For services where consumers play a key role in resource conservation (e.g., tourism, hospitality, recreation), counterfactuals might shed light on the mental mechanisms influential in eliciting much desirable sustainable action.