Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 161–169 | Cite as

The effect of superstitious beliefs on performance expectations

  • Lauren Block
  • Thomas KramerEmail author
Original Empirical Research


We explore superstitious beliefs as a basis of product performance expectations and their impact on initial purchase likelihood and subsequent satisfaction. In doing so, we demonstrate instances when superstition-driven expectations cause consumers to make purchase decisions that run counter to economic rationality. In the first set of studies we find that Taiwanese consumers are relatively more likely to purchase a product with positive superstitious associations based on its “lucky” color, and are more likely to purchase and are willing to pay more money for a product with a smaller but “lucky” number of units contained in the package (e.g., eight tennis balls compared to ten). In contrast, consumers who do not hold such superstitious beliefs adhere to the more rational choice paradigm. Next, we show that the differences in purchase likelihood are driven by superstition-based performance expectations. We further generalize these findings to product satisfaction, and find support for expectation disconfirmation sensitivity as a moderator of the effect.


Superstition Consumer behavior Irrational beliefs Performance expectations 


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Marketing and International Business, Zicklin School of BusinessBaruch College/CUNYNew YorkUSA

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