Take Action

Home | Faculty & Research Overview | Research

Research Details

Context Effects at Encoding and Judgment in Consumption Settings: The Role of Cognitive Resources, Journal of Consumer Research


When consumers learn about a new product, cues in the surrounding context have been found to bias their response to the product in two ways. In some instances, judgments of the product are assimilated toward the affect or descriptive implications associated with the context, whereas in other circumstances, responses are contrasted with or adjusted away from the context. We examine how cognitive resources influence whether assimilation or contrast occurs and when such context effects are reflected in subsequent judgments. Building on a model developed by Martin and his colleagues, we propose that assimilation will occur spontaneously during encoding. Contrast will occur only when this contextual influence is viewed as inappropriate and efforts to partial out the context result in overreaction. These encoding effects of context should be evident in later judgments when the nature of either the judgment task or consumers' predisposition toward effortful thought encourage retrieval of the context-encoded information. The results of two experiments support our predictions and lead to a modified version of Martin's model. In this model, the cognitive resources available at encoding determine the type of context effect and the cognitive resources at judgement determine whether the encoding effect of context will be reflected in product evaluations.




Joan Meyers-Levy, Alice M. Tybout

Date Published



Meyers-Levy, Joan, and Alice M. Tybout. 1997. Context Effects at Encoding and Judgment in Consumption Settings: The Role of Cognitive Resources. Journal of Consumer Research. 24(1): 1-14.


Explore leading research and ideas

Find articles, podcast episodes, and videos that spark ideas in lifelong learners, and inspire those looking to advance in their careers.
learn more


Review Courses & Schedules

Access information about specific courses and their schedules by viewing the interactive course scheduler tool.


Discover the path to your goals

Whether you choose our Full-Time, Part-Time or Executive MBA program, you’ll enjoy the same unparalleled education, exceptional faculty and distinctive culture.
learn more

Take Action