Assimilation and Contrast in Price Evaluations
How are price judgments influenced by the distribution of observed prices for other items in the same category? Processing goals will moderate price-judgment processes. When the processing goal is discrimination, price perceptions will be influenced by variations in range and ranks of prices in a distribution and contrast effects will be observed. For example, lowering the price of the lowest-priced product in a set will increase perceived expensiveness of higher-priced products. When the processing goal is generalization, however, price perceptions will be influenced by variations in the mean of the price distribution, in which case assimilation is observed. For example, lowering the price of the lowest-priced product in a set will decrease perceived expensiveness of higher-priced products. This latter finding is in sharp contrast to findings in the current literature on the effect of price structure on price judgments.
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