Investigating effects of cognitively evoked situational context on consumer expectations and subsequent consumer satisfaction and sensory evaluation

Yeon Joo Lee, In Ah Kim, Danielle van Hout, Hye Seong Lee

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9 Scopus citations


Situational factors affect consumer expectations, perception, and satisfaction with product experience and evaluation. Over the last two decades, as the importance of ecological validity has been highly emphasized in sensory and consumer science, many efforts have been made to consider situational context effects with relation to product hedonic/satisfaction and sensory testing. However, there has been little research on understanding consumer expectations about product characteristics in different situational contexts, which may determine consumer evaluative criteria for satisfaction/sensory evaluation. In the present study, SDT expectation measurements adopting two-step rating-based ‘double-faced applicability’ test with pairs of descriptors (high-end(+) and low-end(−)) was incorporated into satisfaction/sensory tests in experimental laboratory setting in order to investigate cognitively evoked situational context effects on consumer expectations (before tasting) and its consequence on the following satisfaction/sensory evaluation of six different mayonnaises. A cognitive warm-up procedure was conducted with pictures/descriptions of three different situations relevant to mayonnaise consumption. To test the effects of including expectation evaluation in the satisfaction/sensory evaluation, a comparison experiment was designed with/without expectation evaluation. Situational context affected consumer expectations and consequent sensory experience but not overall satisfaction. Situational context effects also interacted with the descriptor conditions (high-end(+) vs. low-end(−) descriptors) in the expectation evaluation. The expectation profile was derived quantitatively as d-prime affect magnitude, which provides a meaningful applicability diagnosis for consumer-relevant attributes. There was no evidence that measuring expectations affected the results of the satisfaction/sensory evaluation, and the results suggest the potential of adopting consumer expectation measurements to identify consumer-relevant attributes in different situational contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104330
JournalFood Quality and Preference
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Unilever R&D, the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (No. 2018R1D1A1A02086215), and the Ewha Womans University scholarship of 2019. The authors would like to thank Wilma-Den Hoed at Unilever R&D Vlaardingen for her input on the consumer study of this project and her help with arranging the samples. The authors also thank Myungshin Kim at Ewha Womans University for her assistance in data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Attribute-based test method
  • Consumer expectation
  • Consumer test
  • Evoked situational context
  • Satisfaction measure
  • Sensory characterization


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