Cumulative impact neglect in processing sequential changes

Kunter Gunasti, Haipeng Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We demonstrate that decision contexts that involve sequential numerical changes over time can lead to suboptimal consumer choices in both incentivized and hypothetical studies. This is because, for such changes, an earlier outcome has a cumulative effect on the final total, which consumers tend to ignore. We document the prevalence of consumers' tendency to neglect this cumulative impact when processing sequential rent increases and price discounts as consumers focus on the naïve totals and trends formed by the consecutive price changes and choose economically inferior options. We propose a nudge that helps alert consumers about the cumulative effects and decrease their tendency to fall prey to this bias. We discuss the theoretical contributions as well as the implications for consumers, managers, and policymakers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Society for Consumer Psychology.


  • cumulative effects
  • cumulative impact neglect
  • numerical biases
  • numerical cognition
  • sequential changes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Cumulative impact neglect in processing sequential changes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this