'Do-it-alls versus specialists' studied

February 13, 2007

A U.S. consumer research scientist says people perceive products that emphasize a single feature as being more effective than those with multiple features.

"The current research breaks new ground by showing that a product that specializes on a single attribute is perceived to be superior on that attribute relative to an all-in-one option -- even when the description of the specialized and the all-in-one options on the focal attribute is exactly the same," said Alexander Chernev of Northwestern University.

Chernev pointed to the "zero-sum heuristic" in consumer attitudes to explain the phenomenon. In other words, consumers believe options are balanced against one another, such that advantages in one aspect are likely to be compensated by disadvantages in another area.

But interestingly, said Chernev, when the multifunction product was priced higher than the single-function product, it was no longer perceived to be inferior.

"The findings reported in this research also imply that the widely use strategy of pricing specialized and all-in-one options at parity might, in fact, be sub-optimal," he said.

The study appears in the March issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Mathematical framework explains diverse plant stem forms

March 23, 2017

It is well known that as plants grow, their stems and shoots respond to outside signals like light and gravity. But if plants all have similar stimuli, why are there so many different plant shapes? Why does a weeping willow ...

How chewing like a cow helped early mammals thrive

March 23, 2017

You probably haven't given much thought to how you chew, but the jaw structure and mechanics of almost all modern mammals may have something to do with why we're here today. In a new paper published this week in Scientific ...

New study shakes the roots of the dinosaur family tree

March 22, 2017

More than a century of theory about the evolutionary history of dinosaurs has been turned on its head following the publication of new research from scientists at the University of Cambridge and Natural History Museum in ...

'Pay to publish' schemes rampant in science journals

March 22, 2017

Dozens of scientific journals appointed a fictive scholar to their editorial boards on the strength of a bogus resume, researchers determined to expose "pay to publish" schemes reported Wednesday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.