You are here


Entrenched cognitive structures and resistance to new products

Catherine Page Moreau, 1998
Faculty Advisor: Donald R. Lehmann


As the strategic and financial importance of launching new products increases, a firm's success is often determined by its ability to target the most innovation-prone segments of consumers. While a clear understanding of the individual's adoption process can lead to more effective segmentation, little empirical research has examined this process from an information processing perspective. In this research, I examine the influence of both prior category knowledge and innovation continuity on how consumers learn about and construct preferences for new products.

Numerous studies in the consumer behavior literature have demonstrated that prior knowledge influences the cost and the content of thinking, and the extensive literature on diffusion suggests that the cost and the content of thinking, in turn, influence diffusion speed and success. Drawing on Rogers' (1983) scheme for classifying innovations, I link these two streams of research by proposing that prior category knowledge systematically influences consumers' perceptions of an innovation's (1) compatibility and complexity (i.e., the cost of thinking) and (2) its relative advantages and risks (i.e., the content of thinking). Additionally, I propose an individual-level definition of innovation continuity which may be more useful to marketers, in terms of targeting and segmenting consumers, than the aggregate-level definition historically employed.

A series of three studies is used to test these propositions. Because the first study reveals a significant, negative relationship between objective category knowledge and adoption, the last two studies are designed to examine the processes underlying the knowledge-preference relationship. Specifically, Study 2 examines the moderating influence of innovation continuity on the relationship between prior knowledge and perceived complexity, compatibility, relative advantage, and risk. Study 3 uses the analogical learning paradigm to test whether manipulating access to different types of knowledge bases influences consumers' preferences for discontinuous innovations.

Doctoral Program News

Honigsberg featured in Ideas at Work

The August issue of Ideas at Work features research that doctoral candidate Colleen Honigsberg led in conjunction with Sharon Katz.

Read More about Colleen

Wazlawek featured in Ideas at Work

Abbie Wazlawek's joint research with Professor Daniel Ames is featured in the June 24th, 2014 edition of Ideas at Work

Read More about Abbie

Ethan Rouen featured in Ideas at Work

Ethan Rouen's joint research with Professor Dan Amiram is featured in the May 15th, 2014 edition of Ideas at Work

Read More about Abbie

Rivas Wins Fellowship

The PhD program is proud to congratulate Miguel Duro Rivas, who was awarded the Nasdaq Educational Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

Read More about Miguel

Wong wins Deloitte Fellowship

We are proud to announce that Yu Ting (Forester) Wong is one of the recipients of the 2014 Deloitte Foundation Doctoral Fellowship in Accounting.

Read More About Yu Ting >

The PhD Program Congratulates John Yao

PhD student John Yao was a finalist in the 2013 M&SOM (Manufacturing & Service Operations Management) student paper competition.

Read More About John >

Honigsberg Named Postdoctoral Fellow

The PhD program is proud to congratulate Colleen Honigsberg, who was named the Postdoctoral Fellow in Corporate Governance at the Millstein Center at Columbia Law School in October 2013

Read More about Colleen >


Application Deadlines

Master of Science in Marketing >

For Fall 2015 Entry:
Deadline: January 5th, 2015


Master of Science in Financial Economics

For Fall 2015 Entry:
Deadline: January 5th, 2015


Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering

For Fall 2014 Entry:
Early Decision: Jan 6, 2015
Regular Decision: Feb 15, 2015


Apply Now
Sept 2015

Deadline: 01/05/15

MS Marketing
Deadline: 01/05/15

MS Financial Economics
Deadline: 01/05/15


Check Application Status

Students listening to classroom lecture

Once you've submitted your application, you can login and track your status by using the link below.

Check Status