The role of price knowledge in consumer product knowledge structures



In this study price knowledge is viewed as a necessary component of a product knowledge structure, in which it is inferred from domain-specific relations among product features. Consumers' knowledge of tuition rates of colleges and universities was investigated in two tuition-estimation experiments. In Experiment 1, providing participants with seed knowledge of a small subset of listed schools improved the mapping properties of the estimates and reduced reliance on using the availability heuristic. In Experiment 2, similar effects were observed when instructions contained information about tuition magnitudes of school groupings, information about how to categorize schools into these groups, and, especially, both types of information combined. Results were interpreted within a frame structural view of consumer knowledge, in which price knowledge occupies an obligatory slot in a richly structured frame as opposed to being derived from memory of isolated exposures to specific prices. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.