In one laboratory study and one field study conducted with a large, representative sample of respondents, we show that seemingly innocuous questions that precede a conjoint task, such as demographic and usage-related screening questions can alter the price sensitivities recovered from the main conjoint task. The findings demonstrate that whether these prior questions use broad response categories (i.e., few scale points) or narrow response categories (i.e., many scale points) systematically influences consumers' price sensitivity in a CBC (Choice Based Conjoint) study. We suggest that this may occur because the narrow (vs. broad) response categories in the prior questions lead to consideration of a greater (vs. fewer) number of attributes during the key conjoint task. Since both groups of consumers readily consider the naturally salient price attribute, responding to previous questions with narrow (vs. broad) response categories leads to a greater (vs. fewer) number of non-price attributes being considered, and consequently, decrease the weight afforded to price and reduce price sensitivity.
Chakravarti, Amitav, Andrew Grenville, Vicki Morwitz, Jane Tang, and Gulden Ulkumen. "Malleable Conjoint Partworths: How the Breadth of Response Scales Alters Price Sensitivity." Journal of Consumer Psychology 23, no. 4 (2013): 515-535.
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