Date of Original Version

2-2012

Type

Working Paper

Abstract or Table of Contents

Most judgments consumers make are parts of sequences and hence unlikely to be free of context effects. Assimilation (contrast) refers to a positive (negative) relationship between the value people place on the context and the value they place on the target stimulus. A general presupposition for much of the work on assimilation and contrast is that one or the other, determined by various factors, occurs. We propose that assimilation and contrast can co-occur within a sequence of experiences and present a hierarchical Bayesian model separating these effects within a unique real-world data set. We find that while assimilation effects influence overall sequence means, contrast effects are simultaneously evident between adjacent items and after extremes within a sequence. This work is the first empirical demonstration of hedonic contrast using real-world data, and the only work thus far to identify and separate assimilation and contrast effects within the same sequence of evaluations.

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