Some would argue that pricing does not influence their judgment of quality of a certain product. Thanks to science, we all know that this is certainly not the case.
Price tags do influence our liking of products. One of the most well-known studies is the Plassmann wine study. It showed that a higher price, for instance for chocolate or wine, increases the expectation that the product will also taste better and in turn affect taste processing regions in the brain. Identical products can be perceived differently due to differences in price. Its affect is solely due to ascribed properties: Quality has its price!
The Plassmann study:
Thirty people participated in the study, of whom 15 women and 15 men with an average age of 30 years old. The wine tasting took place while lying down in an MRI scanner (via a tube), allowing brain activity to be measured while participants were tasting. Each time, the price of the wine was shown first following the tasting of the wine. The participants had to rate the wine on a nine-point scale. Between each tasting, their mouths were rinsed with a neutral liquid and the next identical wine sample was given for tasting with a different price tag. The price tags were random, prices such as 3, 6, 12 and 18 euros were shown. Results showed that as expected, participants rated better taste for wine with a higher price tag than the identical cheaper wine. The measurements of brain activity confirmed this. The reward and motivation system in the brain is activated significantly more when seeing higher prices and as a result increases the taste experience in this way.
We do judge wine by its taste. However, the experience of taste in our brain is influenced by the price tag.
Consumers do not understand what the unconscious influence of pricing is. Therefore, it is difficult to explicitly ask consumers the price value of a product. However, Neurensics can measure this value with Neuroimaging techniques.
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