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
Date Written: 2004
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: Suggested Citation