When opposites detract: Categorical reasoning and subtractive valuations of product combinations

Aaron R. Brough, Alexander Chernev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Can pairing items from different price tiers decrease consumers' perceptions of monetary value? Prior research suggests that adding an item with positive utility to an offering can only increase the offering's overall value. In contrast, we show that combining expensive and inexpensive items can lead to subtractive rather than additive judgments, such that consumers are willing to pay less for the combination than for the expensive item alone. We attribute this subtraction effect to the categorical nature of consumers' processing of numeric information when evaluating combinations of items classified into opposing categories. Five empirical studies lend converging support to the proposition that categorical reasoning can lead to subtractive judgments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-414
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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