Protection for the good: Subcategorization reduces hedonic contrast

Debra A. Zellner, Brett B. Kern, Scott Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Stimuli are rated less "good" when compared to very good context stimuli than when presented alone or compared to less good context stimuli. This diminution in rating is hedonic contrast. In two studies, degree of hedonic contrast depended on subjects' categorization of stimuli. Subjects were surveyed about their liking of gourmet and ordinary coffees (Study 1) and specialty and regular beers (Study 2). In Study 1, contrast was substantially smaller for subjects who regarded the coffees as belonging to different categories than for subjects having a common category for both sorts of coffees. The analogous phenomenon was found in Study 2, comparing subjects who subcategorized beers to subjects who had a common category for both sorts of beers. Contrast is greatest for stimuli in a common category.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-180
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


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