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Kurt Carlson
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Ph.D. Cornell University

My research focuses on consumer decision making, with an emphasis on understanding the goals that underlie consumers' choice processes. My approach is to track the consumer choice process, with a variety of techniques to obtain detailed data on consumers actions, cognitions, and desires.

One technique I have developed allows me to track consumers’ goals during a choice process. To date, I have this method to reveal how goal activation levels are influenced by choice context (e.g., information order, presence of a dominated option, display structure, etc.), choice progress, and chronic dispositions.

I also track consumers developing preferences during choice processes. I do so by having indivduals report information evaluations and overall preferences throughout a choice process. The data obtained this way reveal a general tendency to bias the evaluation of new information to favor whichever brand is currently preferred. This general result has implications for strength of consumer preference, willingness to pay, and which brand is eventually selected. Much of my work on this form of biased predecisional processing examines ways to reduce this tendency.