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Martín Ricardo Zemborain

Phone:+54 (230) 448-1062


  • Profesor
  • IAE Board Member


PhD, Marketing, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, May 2006

M. Phil., Marketing, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, February 2004

EMBA, IAE Management and Business School, Universidad Austral, Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 1997

BA, Industrial Engineering, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 1992

Primary Research Interests
Impact of decision making on consumers’ preference updating and subsequent choices
Interpersonal influences on preferences and choice
Quantitative modeling of psychological processes
Scholarships and Awards
Haring Symposium Fellow, 2005
AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium Fellow, 2004
Rudolph Fellow, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University 2003-2006
Columbia University, Graduate School of Business Doctoral Fellowship, 2001-2003
IAE Management and Business School Ph.D. scholarship, 2001-2006
Best Foods EMBA scholarship, 1996-1997
Thesis Abstract: “The Bolstering Effect: Psychological Processes and Consequences for Consumer Preferences
”The bolstering effect, or how people strategically distort their memories and evaluations about past choices in order to justify them, is an important phenomenon for consumer behavior and decision making. Previous literature has shown the robustness of the effect and suggested its negative consequences for consumer choice, consumer memory and learning from past experiences.
Surprisingly, little research has been done to disentangle the psychological processes underlying the effect.
Prior research uncovered two sources of bolstering: choice-supportive evaluative distortions and choice-supportive memory distortions. Choice-supportive evaluative distortions refer to instances in which people alter the valuation of their preferred alternatives in order to bolster their choices. Choice-supportive memory distortions refer to instances in which people distort their attributions (i.e., beliefs) about the source (i.e., the chosen or the forgone product) of an attribute in order to bolster their choices.
In this dissertation, we bring an integrative view of the bolstering effect. We present a parsimonious model to understand the psychological processes underlying the effect and how it influences consumers’ preferences. Our results show that choice-supportive memory for past options is driven by biased information processing when consumers encode the information about competing products, such that they pay more attention to their preferred products; and by choice-supportive guessing at retrieval for not recognized negative features, such that consumers are more likely to guess that a negative feature belongs to the not chosen product than to the chosen one.
Consistent with the view that bolstering is a strategic mechanism used by consumers to justify their choices, findings also showed that people bolster attribute importance ratings based on their bolstered beliefs about chosen and not chosen products only when they are highly confident about such beliefs. Finally, we find that both sources of bolstering (i.e., choice-supportive memory and choice-supportive evaluative distortions) play a role in shaping consumer preferences for products’ attributes. We conclude discussing theoretical and managerial implications and directions for future research suggested by our findings.