Falling Back on Numbers: Quantitative Specifications as Sources of Control



People have a strong need to assume that their environment is predictable. In this manuscript, we propose that when this assumption is threatened, consumers may use precise information such as quantitative specifications (e.g., regarding calories, prices) to restore control over their lives (e.g., through weight management, budgeting) and environment. Across several studies, we demonstrate that when feelings of control are low, consumers pay more attention to quantitative information, prefer products that are superior in quantitative terms and are willing to pay more for products specified in quantitative specifications. Questioning the reliability  of  quantitative  specifications  attenuates  these effects.