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Subjective Knowledge, Search Locations, and Consumer Choice

Christine Moorman, Kristin Diehl, David Brinberg and Blair Kidwell
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 31, No. 3 (December 2004), pp. 673-680
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/425102
Stable URL:
Page Count: 8
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Subjective Knowledge, Search Locations, and Consumer Choice
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This article demonstrates that subjective knowledge (i.e., perceived knowledge) can affect the quality of consumers’ choices by altering where consumers search. We propose that subjective knowledge increases the likelihood that consumers will locate themselves proximate to stimuli consistent with their subjective knowledge. As such, subjective knowledge influences choice by affecting search selectivity between environments rather than search within the environment. We suggest that the need for self‐consistency drives this effect of subjective knowledge on search. Two lab experiments and one field study find support for the effect of subjective knowledge on nutrition search selectivity and choice as well as for the role of self‐consistency.

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