Forming and Updating of Product Category Perceptions: The Influence of Goals and Discrepancy
Consumers categorize products to facilitate storage and retrieval of product information. Product categories are flexible in structure and may be altered to enable efficient processing, storage, and retrieval of information. The joint effect of two factors, learning goal and discrepancy, on the differential formation of category structures is examined. The learning goal influences the formation of initial category perceptions and is proposed to affect tendencies to subtype a new brand at different levels of discrepancy. Study results indicate that subjects who must make judgments about a new, strongly discrepant brand are influenced more by learning goal than are subjects presented with a moderately discrepant brand. Implications for marketing strategy are discussed.
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