Reason-Based Judgments: Using Reasons to Decouple Perceived Price-Quality Correlation
Received 23 October 2007;
Many models of consumer behaviour assume that people evaluate price and quality independently. However, evidence shows that consumers perceive price and quality as positively related even when they are weakly correlated in the real markets. This paper explores whether this perceived relationship can be cognitively de-coupled by providing explicit reasons why low price and high quality may be compatible. The participants were asked to rate existing stores and fictitious stores in a two-dimensional price-quality space. When the participants were given plausible reasons why the seemingly high quality fictitious stores could have lower than average prices, their judgement of the price-quality relationship was significantly less correlated than when these stores were judged without such reasons. Therefore, the demonstrated phenomenon of reason-based judgments can be used to attenuate the typical price-quality overestimation, or heuristic, which has important implications for decision making research and marketing practice.
Keywords: judgment; reasons; price-quality correlation; consumer behaviour; decision making