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Magnitudes describing product attributes are basic elements used in decision making. Although several researchers have emphasized the need to understand how consumers categorize product attributes, empirical research on this issue is rare. As a first step in developing and evaluating methodologies to examine this issue, a sorting task methodology is introduced to study this problem. Hypotheses were generated to address important theoretical issues relating to how consumers use magnitudes describing product attributes and tested in two studies. The results suggest that the number of magnitudes used by consumers to think about product attributes (i) is higher for abstract when compared to concrete attributes, and (ii) is positively related to the number of magnitudes used in an overall evaluation of liking. Results also provided evidence to support the use of the sorting method.


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© Wiley. Final version published as: Viswanathan, M., Johnson, M. D., & Suman, S. (1999). Understanding consumer usage of product magnitudes through sorting tasks. Psychology and Marketing, 16(8), 643-657. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1520-6793(199912)16:83.0.CO;2-D
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.