Gita Johar

From Categorization to Judgment: Seeing Your Traits in What You Own (and Their Opposite in What You Don't)

Coauthor(s): Liad Weiss.

Abstract:
Ample consumer research concludes that consumers judge a product more favorably once they own it. The present research demonstrates that ownership can also lead to lower product evaluations. Four experiments support an egocentric-categorization framework that accounts for both increases and decreases in product judgment following ownership. The framework proposes an analogy between classification of people and classification of objects vis-a-vis the category "self." In particular, previous research shows that a person evaluates others' traits in assimilation to his/her own traits if they belong to his/her group and in contrast to them if they do not. We suggest that a person also evaluates objects' characteristics in assimilation to his/her own traits if they belong to him/her and in contrast to them if they do not. Consequently, for example, less innovative consumers may judge a product as less innovative when they own it, but as more so when they do not. Theoretical and substantive implications of this view are discussed.

Source: Working paper
Exact Citation:
Weiss, Liad, and Gita Johar. "From Categorization to Judgment: Seeing Your Traits in What You Own (and Their Opposite in What You Don't)." Working paper, Columbia Business School, January 3, 2011.
Date: 3 1 2011