Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Debra Zellner

Committee Member

Jennifer D. Bragger

Committee Member

Peter Vietze


Extrinsic and intrinsic cues play a vital role in the judgment and evaluation of food. The effect of price (i.e., extrinsic cue) on expected and actual liking ratings was studied. There were three independent experiments done in this study. Experiment 1 was done to determine the prices used in the two subsequent experiments. In Experiments 2 and 3 subjects rated the expected (Experiment 2) and actual (Experiment 3) liking of the same brand of tomato soup presented at three different price levels: $2.50 (low), $3.25 (average), and $5.50 (high). In addition to the liking judgment, subjects were asked to evaluate the quality of the ingredients, what kind of ingredients were used to make the soup, where the soup would be served, and what would be an appropriate name for the soup. We predicted that participants in Experiment 3 would have ratings that were influenced by their expectations which should be similar to subjects in Experiment 2. The ratings in Experiment 3 could either show assimilation or contrast to the expectation ratings of Experiment 2. The price of the soup did not affect expectations in Experiment 2. However, price did affect quality ratings in Experiment 3. Participants in the average price condition rated the soup significantly higher in quality of the ingredients than did participants in the low price condition when they tasted the soup. That is, assimilation occurred, the high price condition was not significantly different from the other two conditions. While there was an effect of price on the quality ratings of the soup ingredients this study did not show that the effect was related to expectations about the soup.

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