Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Categories Help Us Make Happier Choices

Date:
July 17, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Most of us have stood in a supermarket aisle, overwhelmed with the array of choices. Making those choices is easier if the options are categorized, according to a new research.

Most of us have stood in a supermarket aisle, overwhelmed with the array of choices. Making those choices is easier if the options are categorized, according to new research.

Related Articles


Authors Cassie Mogilner (Stanford University), Tamar Rudnick, and Sheena S. Iyengar (both Columbia University) demonstrate a surprising phenomenon called the “mere categorization effect,” where consumers are happier with their choices if their options are categorized, even if the categories are meaningless.

“People confronted with highly categorized large selections are happier with their decisions because they experience a sense of self-determination as a result of perceiving differences among the available options,” write the authors.

In one study, participants chose magazines from different displays, some that were categorized and some that were not. Those who were asked to choose a magazine they weren’t familiar with tended to be more satisfied with their choices if they came from categorized selections.

In another study, people at a food court were randomly selected to choose coffee from several menus. The coffee options were either categorized or uncategorized. “Consumers who chose a coffee flavor from a menu divided into seemingly meaningless categories such as Categories A, B, and C were just as happy as those who chose from meaningful categories such as ‘Mild,’ ‘Dark Roast,’ and ‘Nutty,’” write the authors.

When participants were already quite familiar with the items they were selecting, they didn’t need to rely on categories to pick what they wanted, and were less susceptible to the mere categorization effect, the authors found.

“Although is assumed the size of a selection is more important to the consumer than the number of categories, the findings of this investigation reveal the opposite to be true,” write the authors. “Categorization can benefit retailers by providing them with an alternative to stocking additional volumes of goods. Categorization can also alleviate marketers’ and consumers’ desire for ever-increasing choices by enabling consumers to discover variety, experience self-determination, and obtain satisfaction simply by highlighting the variety already available.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mogilner et al. The Mere Categorization Effect: How the Presence of Categories Increases Choosers’ Perceptions of Assortment Variety and Outcome Satisfaction. Journal of Consumer Research, 2008; 35 (2): 202 DOI: 10.1086/588698

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Categories Help Us Make Happier Choices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080716184415.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, July 17). Categories Help Us Make Happier Choices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080716184415.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Categories Help Us Make Happier Choices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080716184415.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins