Kurt Munz researches consumer behavior as a PhD candidate in marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business. His research often focuses on the influence of new technology on consumer judgment and decision making. Read more.
Munz, Kurt P., Minah H. Jung, and Adam L. Alter (2020) , “Name Similarity Encourages Generosity: A Field Experiment in Email Personalization,” Marketing Science, forthcoming.
In a randomized field experiment with the education charitable giving platform DonorsChoose.org (N = 30,297), we examined email personalization using a potential donor’s name. We measured the effectiveness of matching potential donors to specific teachers in need based on surname, surname initial letters, gender, ethnicity, and surname country of origin. Full surname matching was most effective, with potential donors being more likely to open an email, click on a link in the email, and donate to a teacher who shared their own surname. They also donated more money overall. Our results suggest that uniting people with shared names is an effective individual-level approach to email personalization. Potential donors who shared a surname first-letter but not an entire name with teachers also behaved more generously. We discuss how using a person’s name in marketing communications may capture attention and bridge social distance
“Not-so Easy Listening: Roots and Repercussions of Auditory Choice Difficulty in Voice Commerce” by Kurt Munz and Vicki Morwitz.
2018 Center for Global Economy and Business GrantDownload Paper | Preregistration Link
In the context of voice shopping, fifteen experiments demonstrate that information presented by voice can be more difficult to process than the same information presented in writing. Consequently, auditory consumers who shop by voice are less able to differentiate between choice options, leading them to choose recommended items more often, but also defer choice at higher rates compared to when the options are presented visually. This auditory choice difficulty stems from greater difficulty comparing auditory options and is related to an increased burden on working memory. Because the difficulty is related to making comparisons, a joint-evaluation—where an option is considered in the context of others—is more likely to be impacted by voice presentation than a separate-evaluation, and joint versus separate preference reversals are less likely by voice. However, voice presentation can negatively affect the evaluation of even a single item when a consumer compares it against a remembered item, a common scenario in the actual marketplace for tasks such as re-orders. Describing choice options in a way that reduces the burden on memory for auditory consumers can reduce processing difficulty and its downstream consequences.
“Spreading of Alternatives Without A Perception of Choice” by Kurt Munz and Vicki Morwitz.
Choosing something improves a person’s attitude toward it, a classic example of behavior affecting attitudes. Three studies re-examine the causal role of behavior in this “post-choice spreading of alternatives” phenomenon, demonstrating that neither the behavior of choosing nor the self-perception of having made a choice is required for it to occur. A rationalization process similar to the one that follows from actively choosing can occur whenever someone merely accepts an outcome as a true state of affairs. When a person accepts an externally assigned outcome, the negative features of that outcome no longer seem as important, allowing attitudes to improve. People normally accept outcomes they have personally chosen, but they may also accept outcomes they neither chose nor could reject. Thus, we question the causal role of behavior in a classic phenomenon. This finding contradicts explanations for post-choice spreading based on self-perception theory, where people learn their attitudes from their own voluntary behaviors. Though future work would be needed to confirm, we also discuss potential implications for cognitive dissonance theory, suggesting that agency over choice may not be prerequisite for dissonance, as previously believed. Relaxing this prerequisite expands the scope of phenomena to which dissonance theory could potentially apply.
Selected Work in Progress
“Losing Fast or Slow? Preferences for Uncertainty Resolution” by Kurt Munz and Alixandra Barasch.
Is losing better resolved quickly, or does holding onto hope for a positive outcome improve an otherwise negative experience? In other words, if you knew for sure that you would lose, would you prefer to know earlier (perhaps to get the bad news over with), or would you prefer to learn later in the contest (perhaps taking some consolation in fighting until the end)? Across four studies, we observed that consumers preferred to lose more slowly (later in the game) when presented a choice between fast and slow (studies 1 and 2) and when compared to winning (all studies). We also replicated the pattern in a naturalistic setting involving March Madness basketball (study 4). Finally, we showed that playing the game led to changes in preferences to favor earlier resolution, regardless of the outcome (studies 3 and 4), a pattern not well-predicted by existing theory.
Munz, Kurt P., and Vicki G. Morwitz (2019), “Not-so Easy Listening: Roots and Repercussions of Auditory Choice Difficulty in Voice Commerce,” Paper presented at the Society for Judgment and Decision Making Conference Montreal, Canada.
Munz, Kurt P., and Vicki G. Morwitz (2018), “Spreading of Alternatives Without a Perception of Choice,” Paper presented at the Society for Judgment and Decision Making Annual Conference Conference New Orleans, LA.
Munz, Kurt P., Minah H. Jung, and Adam L. Alter (2018), “Name Similarity Encourages Generosity: A Field Experiment in Email Personalization,” Poster presented at the Society for Judgment and Decision Making Annual Conference Conference New Orleans, LA.
Munz, Kurt P., and Vicki G. Morwitz (2018), “Spreading of Alternatives Without a Perception of Choice,” Competitive paper presented at the Association for Consumer Research Annual Conference Dallas, TX.
Munz, Kurt P., and Alixandra Barasch (2018), “Losing Fast or Slow? Preferences for Uncertainty Resolution,” Special session paper presented at the Association for Consumer Research Annual Conference Dallas, TX.
Munz, Kurt P., Minah H. Jung, and Adam L. Alter (2018), “Name Similarity Encourages Generosity: A Field Experiment in Email Personalization,” Symposium presented at the Society for Consumer Psychology Conference Dallas, TX.
Munz, Kurt P., and Vicki G. Morwitz (2018), “Spreading of Alternatives Without A Perception of Choice,” Individual paper presented at the Society for Consumer Psychology Conference Dallas, TX.
Munz, Kurt P., Minah H. Jung, and Adam L. Alter (2017), “Charitable Giving to Teachers with the Same Name: A Field Experiment,” Special session presented at the Association for Consumer Research Conference San Diego, CA.
Munz, Kurt P., and Priya Raghubir (2016), “Sorting As Screening,” Poster presented at the Society for Consumer Psychology Conference St. Petersburg, FL.