Abstract

Four studies support the conclusion that the evaluation of a target brand is influenced by its presentation in the context of advertising for brands from a different category. The specific effect of context depends on the decision maker's expertise in the target category and the accessibility of contextual information. In a base condition, experts exhibited an assimilation effect and novices a comparison contrast. Increasing the accessibility of the contextual information prompted a correction contrast effect among experts and an assimilation effect among novices. A reduction in the resources available for processing the highly accessible contextual information resulted in experts engaging in assimilation and in novices exhibiting a comparison contrast. These findings are explained in terms of an interpretation and a comparison judgment process.

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