A self-regulatory model of consideration set formation



The goal of this article is to deepen the understanding of the consideration stage in choice processes. The basic questions are: Why do people consider different brands/products in the first place? What cognitive processes lead to the formation of consideration sets? Based on the notion that consumers are volitional decision makers capable of controlling their own behavior according to their goals, a self-regulatory model of consideration-set formation is developed. Goals at different levels of abstraction are hypothesized to determine considerationset formation. In contrast to the notion of congruence, which relates the ideal self to consumer choice, the authors focus on the motivational function of the self. Based on a self-regulatory model, it is shown that the ideal self, as a macrolevel goal, determines desired benefits. Desired benefits, as more specific goals, then determine brand consideration. In contrast to stimulus-based choice approaches, consideration-set composition is investigated in a memory-based, comparable-choice context of real adult consumers considering the purchase of automobiles. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.