Effect of Adaption-level and Range-frequency on Subjective Judgment

Volume 20
Issue 1
Sang Yun Seo, Sung Chan Cho, Hoon Young Lee
This study intends to provide a better understanding of the cognitive representation of reference points, and how consumers formulate their reference levels in a judgment task.
To approach this issue, the range theory, the range-frequency theory, and the adaptation-level theory are compared while manipulating the range and frequency of stimulus in a contextual set. This article comprises two studies that test the range effect and frequency effect. Study 1 examines the range effect on the attractiveness evaluated by subjects exposed to different ranges with the same number of stimuli in a context set. Study 2 examines the frequency effect on the attractiveness evaluated by subjects exposed to two context sets, each of which contains a different number of stimuli within identical ranges. In addition, we consider each prediction of subjective judgment using the range-frequency theory and the adaptation-level theory. The MANOVA results and the non-linear regression model fittings of the two studies reveal that the adaptation-level theory provides a sufficiently good cognitive representation of a reference point when subjects are simultaneously exposed to a series of stimuli. Furthermore, the adaptation-level outperformed the range effect as regards a consumer’s cognitive representation when the range is fixed, but the frequency varies within the context set.

Keywords: reference point; subjective judgment; cognitive representation; adaptation-level, range-frequency effect