Feinberg (1986) found that in the presence of a credit card logo items were given higher monetary values than they were given in the absence of the logo. Feinberg speculated that associative learning was the mechanism underlying this effect however alternative explanations that may be related to delay discounting have also been offered in the literature. Should the associative learning explanation be valid, then changes in the broader social and/or economic context may alter this effect. That is, if credit cards are more associated with negative aspects of debt rather than access to goods, then credit card logos may be spending inhibiting rather than spending facilitating, stimuli. In New Zealand media campaigns have portrayed debt negatively and survey research indicates students do perceive debt as negative. Thus in the New Zealand student population credit card stimuli may limit spending. Study 1 demonstrated that the presence of credit card stimuli did lead to smaller perceived values of consumer items in Year 1 New Zealand university students. Study 2 replicated this effect with Year 4 university students. The demonstration of this �negative� credit card effect in this context supports the possibility that the �positive� credit card effect (or absence thereof) in previous studies may rely on associative learning.
Hunt, M., Peters, H. L., Lie, C., & Harper, D. N. (2009). Credit card logos and perceived value. In 6th Annual Conference of the New Zealand Association of Behaviour Analysis, Auckland, New Zealand.