Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

How Confidence and Uncertainty Affect Consumers' Enjoyment of Gambling

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

How Confidence and Uncertainty Affect Consumers' Enjoyment of Gambling

Article excerpt

People often try to predict the outcome of an upcoming event. For example, during football season, thousands of people log onto Yahoo's fantasy sports (http://fantasysports.yahoo.com) to predict results of upcoming National Football League and college football games (Simmons & Nelson, 2006). Some television contest programs, such as Survivor, also encourage audiences to vote for their favorites in order to increase viewer enjoyment and ratings (Mandel & Nowlis, 2008). There is also a group of people who like to bet on races, such as car racing, to enhance enjoyment and in the hope that their bet will provide them with extra income. Indeed, prior researchers have found that having viewers make predictions about the outcome of an event can dramatically increase enjoyment. Marketers encourage consumers strategically to perform such behaviors (Kivetz & Simonson, 2000). Thus, our basic research focus was determining what factors can have effects on consumers' enjoyment of predicting outcomes. Prior researchers have suggested that the degree of uncertainty can have an impact on the enjoyment of predicting the outcome of an event (Mandel & Nowlis, 2008). Furthermore, the level of confidence can influence the individual's actions and decision making (Ulkumen, Manoj, & Morwitz, 2008). In this study, we investigated the moderating role of the degree of confidence as this related to the outcome of an event in determining how predictions might affect enjoyment and the magnitude of a bet placed on a race, or other event or outcome. By studying how predictions interact with various factors to affect enjoyment, we made a contribution to the literature.

Uncertainty and Enjoyment

When a consumer predicts the outcome of an event, the prediction may have a positive or negative effect on the enjoyment of the event that this individual experiences. As described by Wilson, Centerbar, Kermer, and Gilbert (2005) positive uncertain prospects can elicit positive feelings from events with uncertain outcomes. Individuals can experience greater pleasure from uncertainty than from certainty (Lee & Qiu, 2009). The findings in those two studies can be applied by marketers to encourage consumers to vote for their favorites on websites as a means of stimulating involvement and increasing the enjoyment driven by their predicting behavior. Consequently, consumers will experience greater enjoyment while waiting to learn the outcome of their prediction. On the other hand, uncertainty has been found to be linked with worry and difficulty in adapting to new environments and cultures (Gordon, 2003). Although people are naturally curious, they might feel disappointed when their curiosity is satisfied (Loewenstein, 1994). Calvo and Castillo (2001) also suggested that negative affective consequences of uncertainty can evoke negative feelings. As a result, people may experience displeasure when they participate in an uncertain event.

The Role of Confidence

It has been suggested that confidence plays an important role when people make a decision. Confidence is a cognitive component that reflects the level of certainty or conviction with which a belief is held (Bennett & Harrell, 1975). Berger (1992) defined confidence as an individual's belief that his or her judgment is accurate. Specifically, confidence has a positive relationship to the amount of information to which an individual has access, and this effect can be generated by providing participants with more information (Dover & Olson, 1977), more repetitions of the same information (Berger & Mitchell, 1989), or variations of the same information (Haugtvedt, Schumann, Schneier, & Warren, 1994). In addition, Ulkumen et al. (2008) explained an individual's attitude toward events, that is, when people believe the question is easy, the probability of their answer being right will be high. On the contrary, when they feel the question is difficult, the probability of their answer being right will be low. …

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