Psychologists have long thought that we judge experiences based on their most intense moment (the peak) and the last part of the experience (end).
However, the Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab found that this rule can change dramatically depending on how much customers are paying for the experience.
The researchers studied how the price of pizza changed the relationship between a consumer's overall evaluation of the meal and the evaluation of each individual slice of pizza.
Researchers divided 139 diners at an all-you-can-eat restaurant into two separate groups. One group was charged USD 4, while the other group was charged USD 8 for an Italian lunch buffet.
After the meal, the diners evaluated the taste, their satisfaction, and their enjoyment of each slice of pizza they ate. Other measures of behaviour and self-perceptions were also recorded.
"There had been several studies showing that price influences overall evaluation. This is a first look at how price can change what you pay attention to in judging quality," said David Just, from Cornell University.
"It is really remarkable how simply increasing the price can lead one to focus so much less on the end experience and so much more on that first impression," said Just.
The findings of this study suggest that, when prices aremoderate to high, firms may benefit from giving customers the best experience first.
The study was published in the Journal of Product and Brand Management.



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