Use of non-round numbers reduces consumers’ evaluations.
Non-round numbers in a message frame increase attention to numerical values.
Decreased positivity in attitudes is more pronounced in negatively expressed frames.
The work finds process evidence for the original valence-shift based account.
We compare the impact of round and non-round numbers used in a communication message on consumers’ evaluations and judgments towards the associated target entity. We find that the use of non-round numbers, in contrast to round numbers, in a message frame results in increased attention to numerical values, which further leads to a comparison of the associated measures with ideal reference points. This leads to an increased framing effect in the non-round numbers condition compared to the round numbers condition. Interestingly, this also negatively affects consumers’ overall evaluations of the target entity. We demonstrate that such a decreased positivity in attitudes when using non-round numbers is more pronounced in negatively expressed frames. We explain this using an ‘attention shift-comparison’ process. Additionally, using multiple methodologies, we provide elaborated support for the attention-association based reasoning for framing effects in general and thus add to the literature on processes underlying framing effects. This extends the original valence-shift based account originally proposed by Levin and Gaeth (1988) and provides an avenue for future research on attention-association based framing effects.
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