Consumer similarity judgments: A test of the contrast model


  • Michael D. Johnson

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Michigan
    • Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
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    • The author thanks J. Edward Russo, Eric J. Johnson, and Francoise Jaffe for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of the paper. Financial assistance was provided by the Red and White Foundation and the University of Michigan's Graduate School of Business Administration.


A general model is described that views similarity judgment as a contrasting of product features. The relative influence of common and distinctive features on perceived similarity is considered a function of the context or task environment. A memory probe is used to measure the common and distinctive features consumers associate with various products. The feature measures are then used to estimate the model under three different task environments: similarity, dissimilarity, and subject/referent similarity. The results support the model and the effect of the task environment on judgments of interproduct similarity.