J. Wesley Hutchinson

J. Wesley Hutchinson
  • Stephen J. Heyman Professor
  • Professor of Marketing
  • Faculty Director, Wharton Behavioral Laboratory

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    746 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    3730 Walnut Street
    University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: consumer and managerial decision making, particularly the interrelationships among attention, learning, confidence, decision making, and expertise in repeated choice environments.

Links: CV

Overview

Wes Hutchinson is Stephen J. Heyman Professor and Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on consumer and managerial decision making, particularly the interrelationships among attention, learning, confidence, decision making, and expertise in repeated choice environments. His recent research projects include modeling the effects of visual attention at the point of purchase on in-store decisions using eye-tracking data, developing new measures of consumer responses to advertising, mass customization of product aesthetics, and intuitive statistical reasoning as part of decision making. A past president of the Association for Consumer Research, Professor Hutchinson has published articles in a variety of top-tier journals in business and psychology. He is on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, and Marketing Science, and he has won several academic awards. Professor Hutchinson’s teaching interests include courses in New Product Development (UG and MBA), the Social Impact of Marketing (UG and MBA), Research Methods (PhD), and teaching Essentials of Marketing for Wharton’s Executive Education program. He received his PhD in psychology from Stanford University and his BS in psychology from Duke University. Significant personal failures include never really learning to speak Spanish or play the guitar, among others too numerous to list.

Continue Reading

Research

  • Tong Lu, Eric Bradlow, J. Wesley Hutchinson, Binge Consumption of Online Content.

  • Evan Weingarten and J. Wesley Hutchinson (Forthcoming), Does Ease Mediate the Ease-of-Retrieval Effect? A Meta-Analysis.

    Abstract: A wealth of literature suggests individuals use feelings in addition to facts as sources of information for judgment. This paper focuses on a manipulation in which participants list either a few or many examples of a given type, and then make a judgment. Instead of using the number of arguments or evidence strength, participants are hypothesized to use the subjective ease of generating examples as the primary input to judgment. This result is commonly called the ease-of-retrieval effect, and the feeling of ease is typically assumed to mediate the effect. We use meta-analytic methods across 142 papers, 263 studies, and 582 effect sizes to assess the robustness of the ease-of-retrieval effect, and whether or not the effect is mediated by subjective ease. On average, the standard few/many manipulation exhibits a medium-sized effect. In experimental conditions designed to replicate the standard effect, about one third to one half of the total effect is mediated by subjective ease. This supports the standard explanation, but suggests that other mediators are present. Further, we find evidence of publication bias that reduces the standard effect by up to one-third. We also find that (1) moderator manipulations that differ from the standard manipulation lead to smaller, often reversed effects that are not as strongly mediated by ease, (2) several manipulations of theory-based moderators (e.g., polarized attitudes, misattribution) yield strong theory-consistent effects, (3) method-based moderators have little or no effects on the results, and (4) the mediation results are robust with respect to assumptions about error structure.

  • Tong Lu and J. Wesley Hutchinson, Split-Second Decisions During Online Information Search: Static vs. Dynamic Decision Thresholds for Making the First Click.

  • Robert Meyer and J. Wesley Hutchinson (2016), (When) Are We Dynamically Optimal? A Psychological Field Guide for Marketing Modelers,.

  • Evan Weingarten and J. Wesley Hutchinson (Work In Progress), The Effects of Cognitive and Perceptual Salience on Product Valuations.

  • J. Wesley Hutchinson, Tong Lu, Evan Weingarten, “Visual Attention in Consumer Settings”. In International Handbook of Consumer Psychology, edited by Cathrine Janssen-Boyd and Magdalena Zawisza, (2016)

  • J. Wesley Hutchinson, Joseph W. Alba, Eric Eisenstein (2011), Heuristics and Biases in Data-Based Decision Making: The Effects of Experience, Training, and Graphical Data Displays, Journal of Marketing Research.

    Abstract: Managers use numerical data as the basis for many decisions. This research investigates how data on prior advertising expenditures and sales outcomes are used in budget allocation decisions and attempts to answer three important questions about data-based inferences. First, do biases exist that are strong enough to lead to seriously suboptimal decisions? Second, do graphical data displays, real-world experience, or explicit training reduce any observed biases? Third, are the observed biases well explained by a relatively small set of natural heuristics that managers use when making data-based allocation decisions? The results suggest answers of yes, no, and yes, respectively. The authors identify three broad classes of heuristics: difference-based (which assess causation by comparing adjacent changes in expenditures to changes in sales), trend-based (which assess causation by comparing overall trends in expenditures and sales), and exemplar-based (which emulate the allocation pattern of the observations with the highest sales). All three heuristics create biases in some situations. Overall, exemplar-based heuristics were used most frequently and induced the greatest biasing of the three (sometimes allocating the most to an advertising medium that was uncorrelated with sales). Difference-based heuristics were used less frequently but generated the most extreme allocations. Trend-based heuristics were used the least.

  • J. Wesley Hutchinson, Gal Zauberman, Robert Meyer (2010), On the Interpretation of Temporal Inflation Parameters in Stochastic Models of Judgment and Choice, Marketing Science, 29 (1), pp. 133-139.

    Abstract: The implications of Salisbury and Feinberg's (2010) paper [Salisbury, L. C, R M. Feinberg. 2010. Alleviating the constant stochastic variance assumption in decision research: Theory, measurement, and experimental test. Marketing Sci. 29(1) 1-17] for the process of model development and testing in the field of intertemporal choice analysis is explored. Although supporting the overall thrust of Salisbury and Feinberg's critique of previous empirical work in the area, we also see their paper as illustrating the dangers of drawing strong inferences about the behavioral interpretation of statistical model parameters without seeking convergent empirical evidence. In particular, we are skeptical about the extent to which the reported effects of temporal distance on the estimated scale parameter, ?c, are uniquely, or even primarily, due to unobserved error inflation that reflects consumer's uncertainty about future utility. This interpretation is brought into question by several lines of reasoning. Conceptually, we note that "uncertainty" is different from "error" and that, for choice data, the error inflation model is mathematically identical to a model in which the scale parameter is a deterministic function of the temporal discount rate. Empirically, a reanalysis of data from previously published experiments does not consistently support temporal error inflation, temporal convergence of choice shares, or the scale parameter as an explanation of variety seeking in choice sequences. In our opinion, the cumulative results of research on intertemporal choice require models in which the attributes of choice alternatives are differentially discounted over time. Despite these findings, we advocate that choice researchers should indeed follow Salisbury and Feinberg's advice to not assume that error variances will be unaffected by experimental manipulations, and such effects should be explicitly modeled. We also agree that uncovering effects on error variance is just the first step, and the ultimate goal should be to rigorously explain the reasons for such effects.

  • Xiaoyan Deng and J. Wesley Hutchinson (Working), Just Do It Yourself: Does Self-Design Work and, If So, Why?.

  • Yanliu Huang and J. Wesley Hutchinson (Working), There Is More to Planned Purchases than Knowing What You Want: Dynamic Planning and Learning in Multi-Store Price Search Task.

Teaching

Current Courses

  • MKTG942 - Research Methods In Marketing - Part A

    This course provides an introduction to the fundamental methodological issues that arise in experimental and quasi-experimental research. Illustrative examples are drawn from the behavioral sciences with a focus on the behavior of consumers and managers. Topics that are covered include: the development of research ideas; data collection and reliable measurement procedures; threats to validity; control procedures and experimental designs; and data analysis. Emphasis is placed on attaining a working knowledge of the use of regression methods for non-experimental and quasi-experimental data and analysis of variance methods for experimental data. The primary deliverable for this course is a meta-analysis of a research problem of the students choosing that investigates the effects of research methods on empirical results.

    MKTG942301

Past Courses

  • MKTG221 - New Product Management

    Examination of the marketing aspects of products or services exclusive of their promotion, pricing or distribution. Focuses on decisions regarding product introduction, positioning, improvements, and deletion, and the tools available for making these decisions.

  • MKTG350 - Special Topics - Consumer Neuroscience

    CONSUMER NEUROSCIENCE: How can studying the brain improve our understanding of consumer behavior? While neuroscience made tremendous strides throughout the 20th century, rarely were meaningful applications developed outside of medicine. Recently, however, breakthroughs in measurement and computation have accelerated brain science and created a dizzying array of opportunities in business and technology. Currently, applications to marketing research and product development are experiencing explosive growth that has been met with both excitement and skepticism. This mini-course provides an overview of the neuroscience behind and the potential for these developments. Topics will range from well-known and widely used applications, such as eye-tracking measures in the lab and field, to emerging methods and measures, such as mobile technologies, face-reading algorithms, and neural predictors of marketing response. ,The course will also discuss applications in branding and product development, including wearable physiological devices and apps, sensory branding for foods and fragrances, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and neuroscience-based products designed to enhance cognitive functions. These applications stem from many subfields of cognitive neuroscience, including attention, emotion, memory, and decision making. This course is self-contained and has no prerequisites. However, students with some background in business, economics, psychology, and/or neuroscience are likely to find the material covered in this course complementary to their existing knowledge.

  • MKTG399 - Independent Study

  • MKTG611 - Marketing Management

    This course addresses how to design and implement the best combination of marketing efforts to carry out a firm's strategy in its target markets. Specifically, this course seeks to develop the student's (1) understanding of how the firm can benefit by creating and delivering value to its customers, and stakeholders, and (2) skills in applying the analytical concepts and tools of marketing to such decisions as segmentation and targeting, branding, pricing, distribution, and promotion. The course uses lectures and case discussions, case write-ups, student presentations, and a comprehensive final examination to achieve these objectives.

  • MKTG733 - Marketing for Social Impact

    Private and public sector firms increasingly use marketing strategies to engage their customers and stakeholders around social impact. To do so, managers need to understand how best to engage and influence customers to behave in ways that have positive social effects. This course focuses on the strategies for changing the behavior of a target segment of consumers on key issues in the public interest (e.g., health behaviors, energy efficiency, poverty reduction, fund-raising for social causes). How managers partner with organizations (e.g., non-profits, government) to achieve social impact will also be explored.

  • MKTG850 - Special Topics - Consumer Neuroscience

    CONSUMER NEUROSCIENCE: How can studying the brain improve our understanding of consumer behavior? While neuroscience made tremendous strides throughout the 20th century, rarely were meaningful applications developed outside of medicine. Recently, however, breakthroughs in measurement and computation have accelerated brain science and created a dizzying array of opportunities in business and technology. Currently, applications to marketing research and product development are experiencing explosive growth that has been met with both excitement and skepticism. This mini-course provides an overview of the neuroscience behind and the potential for these developments. Topics will range from well-known and widely used applications, such as eye-tracking measures in the lab and field, to emerging methods and measures, such as mobile technologies, face-reading algorithms, and neural predictors of marketing response. ,The course will also discuss applications in branding and product development, including wearable physiological devices and apps, sensory branding for foods and fragrances, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and neuroscience-based products designed to enhance cognitive functions. These applications stem from many subfields of cognitive neuroscience, including attention, emotion, memory, and decision making. This course is self-contained and has no prerequisites. However, students with some background in business, economics, psychology, and/or neuroscience are likely to find the material covered in this course complementary to their existing knowledge.

  • MKTG890 - Advanced Study Project (ASP)

    RETAIL ECOSYSTEM ACTION LEARNING PROJECTS: This course offers graduate students from Wharton and other Penn schools an opportunity to work on real-world projects for companies in the retail industry and in the wider retail ecosystem. It requires the exploration and analysis of actual business issues or opportunities identified by sponsoring/client companies, as well as the formulation of recommendations. It combines 1) academic principles, 2) application of prior business knowledge to the project at hand, and 3) a solutions-oriented mentality. In addition to supervised project work and regular updates to the corporate client/project sponsor, the course involves classroom meetings and discussions on topics pertaining to the projects. While this course focuses on "marketing" topics, projects might also incorporate topics from related disciplines such as operations, management of innovation & technology, data analytics, international management, design, and real estate. Indeed, the goal will be to constitute interdisciplinary teams from Wharton and other relevant Penn graduate schools. ,ADVANCED STUDY PROJECT (GENERAL): The principal objectives of this course are to provide opportunities for undertaking an in-depth study of a marketing problem and to develop the students' skills in evaluating research and designing marketing strategies for a variety of management situations. Selected projects can touch on any aspect of marketing as long as this entails the elements of problem structuring, data collection, data analysis, and report preparation. The course entails a considerable amount of independent work. (Strict library-type research is not appropriate) Class sessions are used to monitor progress on the project and provide suggestions for the research design and data analysis. The last portion of the course often includes an oral presentation by each group to the rest of the class and project sponsors. Along with marketing, the projects integrate other elements of management such as finance, production, research and development, and human resources.

  • MKTG899 - Independent Study

    A student contemplating an independent study project must first find a faculty member who agrees to supervise and approve the student's written proposal as an independent study (MKTG 899). If a student wishes the proposed work to be used to meet the ASP requirement, he/she should then submit the approved proposal to the MBA adviser who will determine if it is an appropriate substitute. Such substitutions will only be approved prior to the beginning of the semester.

  • MKTG942 - Research Methods in Marketing - Part A

    This course provides an introduction to the fundamental methodological issues that arise in experimental and quasi-experimental research. Illustrative examples are drawn from the behavioral sciences with a focus on the behavior of consumers and managers. Topics that are covered include: the development of research ideas; data collection and reliable measurement procedures; threats to validity; control procedures and experimental designs; and data analysis. Emphasis is placed on attaining a working knowledge of the use of regression methods for non-experimental and quasi-experimental data and analysis of variance methods for experimental data. The primary deliverable for this course is a meta-analysis of a research problem of the students choosing that investigates the effects of research methods on empirical results.

  • MKTG943 - Research Methods in Marketing - Part B

    This course provides an introduction to the fundamental methodological issues that arise in experimental and quasi-experimental research. Illustrative examples are drawn from the behavioral sciences with a focus on the behavior of consumers and managers. Topics that are covered include: the development of research ideas; data collection and reliable measurement procedures; threats to validity; control procedures and experimental designs; and data analysis. Emphasis is placed on attaining a working knowledge of the use of regression methods for non-experimental and quasi-experimental data and analysis of variance methods for experimental data. The primary deliverable for this course is a meta-analysis of a research problem of the students choosing that investigates the effects of research methods on empirical results.

  • MKTG995 - Dissertation

  • MKTG999 - Supervised Independent Study

    Requires written permission of instructor and the department graduate adviser.

Awards and Honors

  • Society for Consumer Psychology Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, 2009
  • Finalist, H. Paul Root Award, Best Paper in Journal of Marketing, 2009 Description

    2009 MSI/H. Paul Root Award Finalist (Journal of Marketing article that made the most significant contribution to further the practice of marketing) for “Does In-Store Marketing Work? Effects of the Number and Position of Shelf Facings on Brand Attention and Evaluation at the Point of Purchase,” co-authored with Pierre Chandon, Eric Bradlow, and Scott H. Young.

  • Sheth Foundation/Journal of Consumer Research Long-Term Contribution Award, 2008 Description

    2008 Sheth Foundation/Journal of Consumer Research Long-Term Contribution Award for “Dimensions of Consumer Expertise,” co-authored with Joseph W. Alba

  • The ACR Working Paper Best Poster Award, 2007 Description

    For “A Three Factor Model of Consumer Preference for Self-Designed Products,” with Xiayan Deng

  • Best Article Award for the Journal of Consumer Research, 2000 Description

    For “Knowledge Calibration: What Consumers Know and What They Think They Know,” coauthored with Joseph W. Alba

  • President, Association of Consumer Research, 2002-2003, 2002
  • O’Dell Award Finalist, 1994 Description

    For best article in the Journal of Marketing Research 1992-1994, for “Finding Choice Alternatives in Memory: Probability Models of Brand Name Recall,” co-authored with Kalyan Raman and Murali Mantrala

  • Senior Fellow, Wharton Financial Institution Center, 1995 Description

    1995-1996

  • AMA Advanced Research Techniques Forum Special Session Selection, 1995 Description

    For “Finding Choice Alternatives in Memory: Probability Models of Brand Name Recall,” co-authored with Kalyan Raman and Murali Mantrala

  • J. C. Penney Term Professorship, 1994 Description

    1992-1994

  • Sternberg Foundation/Maison Blanche Faculty Fellowship, 1991 Description

    1991-92

  • Outstanding Article, Journal of Consumer Research, 1987 Description

    For “Dimensions of Consumer Expertise,” co-authored with Joseph W. Alba

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, 1980 Description

    1977-1980, Stanford

Activity

Latest Research

Tong Lu, Eric Bradlow, J. Wesley Hutchinson, Binge Consumption of Online Content.
All Research

In the News

Beyond Netflix: How Binging Impacts Online Learning

New Wharton research examines binge consumption in the online education sector and finds that those who binge tend to perform better and are more likely to complete an online course.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2017/09/12
All News

Awards and Honors

Society for Consumer Psychology Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award 2010
All Awards