Categories Create Mind-Sets: The Effect of Exposure to Broad Versus Narrow Categorizations on Subsequent, Unrelated Decisions

Ülkümen, Gülden; Chakravarti, Amitav; Morwitz, Vicki G
August 2010
Journal of Marketing Research (JMR);Aug2010, Vol. 47 Issue 4, p659
Academic Journal
The authors find that exposure to different types of categories or assortments in a task creates a mind-set that changes how consumers process information in subsequent tasks. That is, these mind-sets 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 previously exposed to narrow assortments or categorizations employ multiple pieces of information, both salient and nonsalient, 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.


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