The Curious Case of the Refrigerator–TV: Similarity and Hybridization
Version of Record online: 9 APR 2012
Copyright © 2012 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Volume 36, Issue 6, pages 992–1018, August 2012
How to Cite
Gibbert, M., Hampton, J. A., Estes, Z. and Mazursky, D. (2012), The Curious Case of the Refrigerator–TV: Similarity and Hybridization. Cognitive Science, 36: 992–1018. doi: 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2012.01247.x
- Issue online: 27 JUL 2012
- Version of Record online: 9 APR 2012
- Received 27 May 2011; received in revised form 22 July 2011; accepted 24 July 2011
- Hybrid products;
- Feature addition;
- Feature integration;
- Conceptual combination;
This article examines the role of similarity in the hybridization of concepts, focusing on hybrid products as an applied test case. Hybrid concepts found in natural language, such as singer songwriter, typically combine similar concepts, whereas dissimilar concepts rarely form hybrids. The hybridization of dissimilar concepts in products such as jogging shoe mp3 player and refrigerator TV thus poses a challenge for understanding the process of conceptual combination. It is proposed that models of conceptual combination can throw light on the judged future success and desirability of hybrid products in general. The composite prototype model proposes two stages of conceptual combination. In the first stage, the concepts are aggregated into an additive hybrid, simply by forming the union of the two sets of attributes. In the second stage, any conflicting attributes are identified and resolved, often with the introduction of emergent attributes, resulting in an integrative hybrid. Across four studies that varied the similarity and type of hybrid products, similar and integrative hybrids were valued more than dissimilar and additive hybrids. Critically, though, dissimilar hybrids were also highly valued if they were integrative. Results supported the two stages proposed by the composite prototype model, and implications for other models of hybrid formation are discussed.