Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 271–282

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

Original Empirical Research


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.


Behavioral price research Numerical information processing Math anxiety 


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LeBow College of BusinessDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.University of IllinoisUrbana-ChampaignUSA
  3. 3.University of RichmondRichmondUSA

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