In an increasingly globalized marketplace, it is common for marketing researchers to collect data from respondents who are not native speakers of the language in which the questions are formulated. Examples include online customer ratings and internal marketing initiatives in multinational corporations. This raises the issue of whether providing responses on rating scales in a person’s native versus second language exerts a systematic influence on the responses obtained. This article documents the anchor contraction effect (ACE), the systematic tendency to report more intense emotions when answering questions using rating scales in a nonnative language than in the native language. Nine studies (1) establish ACE, test the underlying process, and rule out alternative explanations; (2) examine the generalizability of ACE across a range of situations, measures, and response scale formats; and (3) explore managerially relevant and easily implementable corrective techniques.

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Keywords bilingualism, emotions, international marketing research, language
Persistent URL
Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal Journal of Marketing Research
Rights Depositing of pre-print allowed
de Langhe, B, Puntoni, S, von der Heyde Fernandes, D, & van Osselaer, S.M.J. (2011). The Anchor Contraction Effect in International Marketing Research. Journal of Marketing Research, 48, 366–380. Retrieved from