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Research Article

Anticipation and Realization: Attitudes and Buying Plans in the Future Time Orientation of Consumer Behavior

Author:

René Bouwen

Economische Hogeschool Limburg Universitaire Campus 3810 Diepenbeek, BE
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Abstract

This paper deals with the relation between behavioral anticipation and subsequent behavior. Fore more than twenty years G. Katona of the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan has been using buying plans and attitudes toward situational contingencies to explain and predict fluctuations in consumer behavior and in the general business climate. Even though much research has been devoted to the topic, several basic questions have yet to be resolved. To conceptualize the problem of anticipation, we use JR. Nuttin’s relational theory of human motivation wherein behavioral anticipation is considered to be the cognitive elaboration of motivation on a representational level. Anticipations are made operational by self-rating attitude scales of the economic determinants (income, prices, market conditions, etc.) and by the self-estimate of the probability of buying plans for durables in the near future. The relation between anticipation and behavior is tested on the individual level (cross section analysis) and on the aggregate level (time series analysis). Previous studies have shown that attitudes are more significant than buying plans on the aggregate level, while the reverse is true on the individual level; Adams calls it the time series cross-section paradox. In this study a significant relation was found between both attitudes and plans and buying behavior on the aggregate level (Fig. 2 and Tab. 2). On the individual level, attitudes and buying plans also have a strong relation to subsequent behavior (Tab 4 and Tab. 6). The role of attitudes on the individual level is clarified by the introduction of a basic optimism-pessimism variable and a future time orientation variable which reduce interpersonal differences (Tab 5). The quality of the buying plans on the individual level is determined by an intentionality variable (Tab. 8) and the subject's own estimate of the probability of their realization (Tab. 7). The analysis of attitudes and plans is useful for predicting buying behavior on both the individual and the aggregate levels. The explanatory power of anticipation is a strong argument for proving the existence of cognitive elaboration of human motivation.
How to Cite: Bouwen, R., 1977. Anticipation and Realization: Attitudes and Buying Plans in the Future Time Orientation of Consumer Behavior. Psychologica Belgica, 17(2), pp.113–134. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/pb.612
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Published on 01 Jan 1977.
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