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The roles of schema incongruity and expertise in consumers’ wine judgment

Lanseng, Even J., Sivertsen, Hanne K.
Food quality and preference 2019 v.71 pp. 261-269
consumer surveys, consumers (people), experts, memory, product evaluation, wines
Broadening the present understanding of how expertise moderates the schema-incongruity effect (i.e., the notion that a product moderately incongruent with the schema evoked for it in memory is associated with a comparatively positive product evaluation), this study argues that people with higher, not lower, degrees of expertise experience incongruity and prefer moderately incongruent products over congruent ones. Because people with low expertise in complex product categories lack a developed schema against which to assess encountered products, they will be insensitive to incongruity. People with high expertise, on the other hand, typically have developed schemata and can therefore perceive incongruity and respond accordingly.Consumers with different levels of wine expertise participated in a study in which they were given congruent or incongruent information, as well as different levels of information elaboration, about a wine prior to tasting and evaluating it. The results of this study support the above argument: Expertise moderates the incongruity effect such that it is prevalent only for experts, and schema-level processing moderates expertise’s moderating effect on the incongruity effect.