Something underneath? Using a within-subjects design to examine schema congruity theory at an individual level

Gao, Xin; Hooge, Ilona E. De; Fischer, Arnout R.H.


Previous research has shown that perceived incongruity affects product evaluations in an inverted U shape. However, it remains unclear whether this relation also occurs at individual levels with continuous incongruity measures, and for products with repurposed materials. Five within-subjects studies do not show the inverted U relation across all participants. Instead, consumer subgroups show a monotonic relation: higher congruity leads to higher product evaluations. This aligns with processing fluency theory. Additionally, we demonstrate that the degree of processing from raw to end materials and the extent to which materials fulfil product functions mediate the effect of repurposed materials on perceived incongruity.