, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 271-282
Date: 16 Aug 2012

Math anxiety and its effects on consumers’ preference for price promotion formats

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Abstract

This research examines whether preference for certain price presentations observed in past research could be explained by either consumers’ math anxiety or their math abilities. Previous research suggests that math anxiety not only increases tendencies to make computational errors but also influences cognitive abilities to make numerical judgments. In four studies we document an effect of math anxiety whereby price promotions, whose net prices are simply derived, like those in a dollars-off format, were preferred over a competing percentage-off format. We explain this effect in terms of consumers’ inability to expend cognitive resources due to their math anxiety rather than their math ability. We also identify a boundary condition with such effects of math anxiety occurring when price information is presented in a computationally complex manner and when consumers are making important product judgments.