Professor Karmarkar draws on concepts and techniques from neuroscience to inform her research in marketing. Her interests lie in determining how information relevant to a choice is integrated over time, leading to an estimation of value that informs consumer decisions and experiences. Using this approach, she examines how factors related to the flow of information – such as timing or intervening periods of sleep – affect value and the decision process.
Information processing in decision making
Determining or estimating value is a central concern when considering a purchase. Professor Karmarkar has studied how factors related to the purchase context may change consumers’ perception of value. For example, in one line of research she examines whether a consumer may value an item differently depending on the timing of price information, namely whether it is presented before or after product information. In another line of studies, Professor Karmarkar has examined how intervening periods, including those of sleep, affect information processing and choice confidence.
Certainty and recommendations
In a separate research stream, Professor Karmarkar has explored the effects of certainty on the persuasiveness of recommendations and consumer ratings. Work published in the Journal of Consumer Research demonstrated that while expressing certainty increased the persuasiveness of novice recommendations, experts benefited from noting some uncertainty in their views. Readers were drawn in by this incongruity between the source’s level of expertise and the level of certainty in the message, and this increase in involvement led to greater persuasion. Professor Karmarkar’s continuing work in this domain examines the impact of consumers’ own feelings of certainty in interpreting product ratings. Early findings suggest that when individuals feel uncertain, they view other people’s certainty as favorable to a product, even when the item itself is rated poorly.