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October 2021

Averaging expectancies and perceptual experiences in the assessment of quality

Author(s): Shanteau, J.

Journal/Book: Acta Psychol. 1999; 101: PO Box 211, 1000 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands. Elsevier Science Bv. 49-67.

Abstract: This study examines whether people integrate expectancy information with perceptual experiences when evaluating the quality of consumer products. In particular, we investigate the following three questions: (1) Are expectancy effects observed in the evaluation of consumer products? (2) Can these effects be viewed in cognitive processing terms? (3) Can a mathematical model based on the averaging of attribute information describe the effects? Participants in two experiments blindly evaluated (with the product names removed) consumer products from six sensory modalities: vision (computer printer output), tactile (paper towels), olfaction (men's cologne), taste (corn chips), auditory (audio cassette tapes), and tactile/medicinal (hand lotion). Participants in both experiments were asked to: (1) rate the overall quality of the product given arbitrary quality labels (High Quality, Medium Quality, or Low Quality); (2) rate the overall quality of the product without the labels, and (3) estimate the scale values for the quality labels alone. Group results revealed main effects of the quality labels in all product categories. The pattern of results could be described by an averaging model based on Information Integration Theory. These results have implications for placebo effects in consumer behavior and decision making.

Note: Article Dougherty MRP, Univ Oklahoma, Dept Psychol, Dale Hall Tower, 705, Norman,OK 73019 USA

Keyword(s): expectations; information integration; placebo effects; consumer products; PRODUCT QUALITY; PLACEBO; EXPECTATIONS; TASTE

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