Names will hurt you: Effect of label on liking and preference

  • Debra A. Zellner
  • Kaila Hoer
  • Juliann Feldman


When hedonic contrast causes stimuli to become less good it also reduces subjects’ preferences between the stimuli (hedonic condensation). Here we investigate whether the reduction in preference is the result of comparing the judged stimuli to the preceding context stimuli or the result of their increased negativity. Two groups smelled and rated their degree of preference between two pairs of cheeses (one group told they were smelling cheeses and the other body odor samples). They then smelled each of the four samples individually and rated the intensity and liking for the samples with the same label. There was no effect of label on intensity ratings. But subjects told that the samples were body odor liked the samples less and showed less of a preference between pairs.

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