Journal of Consumer Behaviour

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How interruptions influence our thinking and the role of psychological distance

Abstract Despite the growing attention given to the effects of brief interruptions on consumers' judgments and choices, the cognitive processes that underlie for its effects are not yet fully understood. The lack of a unifying mechanism that accounts for previous findings limits the strategic response to interruptions by managers and consumers. This research addresses this gap through a series of studies which reveal that brief interruptions increase the psychological distance that decision makers feel from the task at hand, which impacts the judgments and choices they make. Four experiments investigate the effects of brief interruptions through the use of different interruptions, different participant pools, and different focal tasks. Together, the findings make contributions to the growing literature in interruptions and Construal Level Theory. They also provide managers and decision‐makers with a better understanding of how common, brief interruptions can impact preferences, product choices and consumers' willingness to engage in prosocial behavior.

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