Author ORCID Identifier

Aleksandra Kovacheva:

Hillary Wiener:

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2023



Research suggests that mystery products can be appealing to consumers and can motivate interest and purchase. In this paper, we examine a different benefit of these offerings – their effect on driving conversation. We propose that such products can prompt a conversation due to their ability to motivate joint speculation, or the process of thinking about possible resolutions of the uncertainty with others. We define this novel driver of conversation, delineate it from related constructs, and situate it in the literature. We then provide initial evidence for the proposed theory in seven studies (n = 2,835), demonstrating that mystery products increase the desire for conversation (Studies 1, 3-4, Supplemental studies A-C) and generate joint speculation (Studies 2-4, Supplemental study B-C). We also rule out alternative explanations (such as information acquisition and savoring, Study 3; novelty, Supplemental study B). These effects, however, are attenuated for closed-minded consumers (Study 4) who are less open to considering multiple perspectives and thereby less interested in joint speculation. We conclude with directions for future research and implications for marketers.


This is the Author's Accepted Manuscript. The Version of Record can be found here: Kovacheva, A., & Wiener, H. J. D. (2023). Let's speculate about it: When and why consumers want to discuss mystery products. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 00, 1–10.

Included in

Marketing Commons



Terms of Use

This work is made available under the Scholars Archive Terms of Use.