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Darren Dahl (Editor in Chief)Eileen FischerGita JoharVicki Morwitz

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The Mere Categorization Effect: How the Presence of Categories Increases Choosers' Perceptions of Assortment Variety and Outcome Satisfaction

Cassie Mogilner, Tamar Rudnick, Sheena S. Iyengar
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/588698 202-215 First published online: 1 August 2008


What is the effect of option categorization on choosers' satisfaction? A combination of field and laboratory experiments reveals that the mere presence of categories, irrespective of their content, positively influences the satisfaction of choosers who are unfamiliar with the choice domain. This “mere categorization effect” is driven by a greater number of categories signaling greater variety among the available options, which allows for a sense of self-determination from choosing. This effect, however, is attenuated for choosers who are familiar with the choice domain, who do not rely on the presence of categories to perceive the variety available.

  • Categorization
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Perceptual Processes
  • Point of Purchase Displays
  • Satisfaction
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