Alternative Models of Categorization: Toward a Contingent Processing Framework

Cohen, Joel and Basu, Kunal (1987) Alternative Models of Categorization: Toward a Contingent Processing Framework. Journal of Consumer Research, 13 (4). pp. 455-472.


Widely varying accounts of how people categorize new instances have been advanced in recent years. It is argued that identification and evaluation of a product are fundamentally intertwined and are outcomes of a process intended both to provide meaning and to facilitate a readiness to respond. The various alternative models of the categorization process are reviewed with an emphasis on the use of concrete category exemplars as opposed to category-defining rules and prototypes (feature-based processes). A contingency-based ''mixed model'' is presented that incorporates the effects of category learning and task-related factors likely to be important in categorization occurrences similar to those faced by consumers. This contingency processing formulation stresses the flexibility of the information processing system in its response to important contextual factors. Finally, research paradigms are introduced that are designed to examine the effects of contingent processing factors on the categorization processes used by the individual.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: accounts, government policy, information storage & retrieval systems
Subject(s): Corporate reputation
Centre: Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2012 17:41
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2018 12:33
Funders: N/A

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