Understanding consumer usage of product magnitudes through sorting tasks

Madhubalan Viswanathan, Michael D. Johnson, Seymour Sudman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnitudes describing product attributes are basic elements used in decision making. Although several researchers have emphasized the need to understand how consumers categorize product attributes, empirical research on this issue is rare. As a first step in developing and evaluating methodologies to examine this issue, a sorting task methodology is introduced to study this problem. Hypotheses were generated to address important theoretical issues relating to how consumers use magnitudes describing product attributes and tested in two studies. The results suggest that the number of magnitudes used by consumers to think about product attributes (i) is higher for abstract when compared to concrete attributes, and (ii) is positively related to the number of magnitudes used in an overall evaluation of liking. Results also provided evidence to support the use of the sorting method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-657
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


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