SFB 504 discussion paper 98-54

Michaela Wänke
Sonderforschungsbereich 504
L 13, 15, D-68131 Mannheim

Herbert Bless
Mikrosoziologie und Sozialpsychologie Universität Mannheim
Seminargebäude A 5 D-68131 Mannheim

Eric Igou
Sonderforschungsbereich 504
L 13, 15, D-68131 Mannheim

Next to a star: Paling, shining or both? Turning inter-exemplar contrast into inter-exemplar assimilation

Three studies investigated how an extremely positive exemplar (star) influences the evaluation of more moderate exemplars. In Study 1, which was set in the political domain, a star elicited contrast in the evaluation of other, more moderate exemplars. However, the contrast effect was eliminated when the shared category membership of the star and the respective exemplar was made salient. Study 2 replicated the results of reduced contrast effects after the activation of a shared category membership in the marketing context. Moreover, the star caused a differentiation between two models otherwise evaluated as equal because the same-brand model was assimilated and the competitor-brand model was contrasted to the star. Study 3 provided evidence that inter-exemplar contrast and inter-exemplar assimilation work in parallel rather than in alternetively.
A2 (1998-1999) Waenke
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