When Categorization is Ambiguous: Factors that Facilitate and Inhibit the Use of a Multiple (Versus Single) Category Inference Strategy

Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 31, pp. 444-445, Barbara E. Kahn, Mary Frances Luce, Valdosta, GA: Association for Consumer Research, 2004

Posted: 4 Aug 2011

See all articles by Steve Hoeffler

Steve Hoeffler

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Min Zhao

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Jennifer Gregan-Paxton

University of Delaware - Management

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

Prior research has established that categorization plays a central role in new product learning (Sujan, 1985). Very little is known, however, about the operation of this commonly studied category-based learning process under conditions of categorization ambiguity. Categorization ambiguity exists when information about a new product makes it difficult or impossible to place the novel offering in a single, existing category. Many of the new technological innovations hitting the market today fit this profile, as they often combine the features and functionality of existing products to create a single hybrid product. For example, there are personal digital assistants (PDAs) with cell phone functions and cell phones with PDA functions. The categorization of these products is highly ambiguous because, in both cases, the hybrid could logically be considered either a PDA or a cell phone.

Suggested Citation

Hoeffler, Steve and Zhao, Min and Gregan-Paxton, Jennifer, When Categorization is Ambiguous: Factors that Facilitate and Inhibit the Use of a Multiple (Versus Single) Category Inference Strategy (2004). Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 31, pp. 444-445, Barbara E. Kahn, Mary Frances Luce, Valdosta, GA: Association for Consumer Research, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1905178

Steve Hoeffler (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Min Zhao

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

Jennifer Gregan-Paxton

University of Delaware - Management ( email )

United States

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