Categories Create Mindsets: The Effect of Exposure to Broad versus Narrow Categorizations on Subsequent, Unrelated Decisions
Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 47, pp.659-671, August 2010
40 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2009
Date Written: 2010
We find that exposure to different types of categories or assortments in a first task creates a mindset that changes how consumers process information. These mindsets in turn, have a spillover effect that alters consumers’ decision making in a variety of subsequent and unrelated tasks, from basic cognitive behaviors (e.g., grouping), and consumer decisions (e.g., new product adoptions), to more general decision making strategies (e.g., susceptibility to heuristics). Consumers previously exposed to broad assortments or categorizations base their decisions on fewer pieces of information, typically those made salient by the environment. In contrast, consumers who have previously been exposed to narrow assortments or categorizations, employ multiple pieces of information, both salient and non-salient, without exerting any extra effort. Consequently, prior exposure to broad versus narrow categorizations leads to greater susceptibility to some common context effects and to heuristic decision making.
Keywords: categorization, heuristics, new products, mindset, decision making
JEL Classification: M31, M30, M10, M00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation