A Study of Information Search Behavior during the Categorization of New Products
Consumers are confronted with hundreds of new products each year, yet little is known about how these new products are integrated into existing knowledge structures. Depending on the new products similarity or dissimilarity to categories stored in memory, consumers information search may be influenced. In this study, consumers' information-seeking behavior was explored during the categorization of new products that differed in varying degrees from preexisting category expectations. Results suggest that subjects manage the cognitive effort of search by limiting breadth of search. However, an inverted-U relationship exists between discrepancy and depth of search. Thus, it appears that, at a moderate level of discrepancy, subjects may examine a relevant set of attributes in greater depth rather than search for information on a broad range of attributes. With high discrepancy, however, it appears that subjects try alternative internal strategies rather than search for more information. Copyright 1992 by the University of Chicago.
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