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Language Structure and Categorization: A Study of Classifiers in Consumer Cognition, Judgment, and Choice

Bernd H Schmitt and Shi Zhang

Journal of Consumer Research, 1998, vol. 25, issue 2, 108-22

Abstract: Using classifiers--lexical items that depict perceptual and conceptual properties of object---six cross-cultural experiments were conducted in the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States to investigate how structural features of languages affect mental structures and, in turn, consumer behavior. Experiments 1-4 show how classifiers affect the perceived similarity between objects, attribute accessibility, and concept organization. Experiment 5 shows how classifier-based schemata result in inferences about product features. Experiment 6 provides evidence for the effect of classifiers on judgment and choice via assimilation and contrast processes and affect transfer. We discuss our findings in light of the Whorfian hypothesis and argue for the incorporation of structural components of languages into models of consumer behavior. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

Date: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:25:y:1998:i:2:p:108-22