Self-reports in consumer research: The challenge of comparing cohorts and cultures

Self-reports are a key source of information in consumer research. Unfortunately, self-reports are highly context dependent, and this problem is compounded when comparisons across cohorts or cultures are of interest. Age-related changes in cognitive functioning and cultural differences in cognition and communication influence the response process, resulting in differential context effects that may reverse the ordinal placement of cohorts or cultures on the measure of interest. Any observed difference between age groups or cultures may therefore reflect a meaningful difference in attitudes or behaviors, a difference in the response process, or an unknown mix of both. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved) (from the journal abstract)