Recall Versus Recognition As a Measure of Price Awareness

Kent B. Monroe, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Christine P. Powell, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Pravat K. Choudhury, Howard University
ABSTRACT - Drawing upon memory and information processing theories, this paper develops the conceptualization and analytical procedures for measuring price awareness. Based on the premise that much of consumer shopping is low involving, without elaborate information processing, the paper demonstrates that recognition memory tests are more appropriate for measuring price awareness at the time of purchase. Theoretical propositions are derived by analogical reasoning from signal detection theory, and the supporting dependent measures are discussed.
[ to cite ]:
Kent B. Monroe, Christine P. Powell, and Pravat K. Choudhury (1986) ,"Recall Versus Recognition As a Measure of Price Awareness", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 13, eds. Richard J. Lutz, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 594-599.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 13, 1986      Pages 594-599

RECALL VERSUS RECOGNITION AS A MEASURE OF PRICE AWARENESS

Kent B. Monroe, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Christine P. Powell, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Pravat K. Choudhury, Howard University

ABSTRACT -

Drawing upon memory and information processing theories, this paper develops the conceptualization and analytical procedures for measuring price awareness. Based on the premise that much of consumer shopping is low involving, without elaborate information processing, the paper demonstrates that recognition memory tests are more appropriate for measuring price awareness at the time of purchase. Theoretical propositions are derived by analogical reasoning from signal detection theory, and the supporting dependent measures are discussed.

OVERVIEW

One of the factors often stated as important in making purchase decisions is price. Much research has been done in the area of price, and it has been shown that consumers have price limits and acceptable ranges of prices that influence whether or not they will pay a certain price for a product (Gabor and Granger 1964, 1966; Monroe and Venkatesan 1969; Monroe 1971). Although this past research shows that consumers perceive prices in terms of the degree to which they may be willing to pay for an item, nonetheless it has been shown that, when asked, consumers have difficulty recalling the correct price for a previously purchased product (Gabor and Granger 1961, 1964). It has been inferred that since people cannot recall the price paid for a recent purchase, they could not have paid much attention to the price at the time of purchase (Gabor and Granger 1961). Previous price awareness research has relied on recall as a measure for price awareness and has not addressed how memory and human information processing should be considered when measuring price awareness.

Contemporary thinking about the role that price plays in influencing purchase behavior has evolved from the classical stimulus-organism-response model to a cognitive or information processing model. In the past decade, price researchers have offered descriptive models of how the price stimulus may actually be perceived, stored in memory, and recalled at a later time. Thus, it is recognized that buyers' purchase behaviors may be influenced not only by the price of a product, but also by price information stored in their memories, and by what they have learned about price relationships from previous shopping experiences. Therefore, to enhance our understanding of how price may influence purchase behavior, it is necessary to increase our knowledge about how price information is acquired, perceived, stored in memory, and retrieved. Also, since learning is concerned with how a relatively stable behavior potentially becomes a part of memory (Adams 1980), how buyers learn about prices is also of interest.

Price Awareness vs. Price Consciousness

Before the issue of price awareness is fully developed, the difference between price awareness and price consciousness needs to be discussed. The issue of whether buyers "know" the prices they pay has been called either price awareness or price consciousness. However, there are differences in the meanings of these two concepts.

Often times the term price consciousness has been used interchangeably with price awareness, even though the terms are not synonymous. In this research price awareness refers to the ability of the buyer to remember prices, whereas price consciousness refers to the buyer's sensitivity toward price differentials (Monroe and Petroshius 1981). For example, someone who remembers the price paid for a jar of peanut butter is aware of price. On the other hand, someone who may or may not remember the exact price but knows the price has gone up from last week and, therefore, will not buy that brand is price conscious. That is, buyers who use price or price differentials to guide their purchase decisions are classified as price conscious. While it is likely that price-conscious buyers may also be able to remember specific prices, it is not necessary that price-aware buyers use price as a purchase decision criterion to the same degree. That is, price-aware buyers may know that brand A is higher in price, yet will buy that brand for other reasons.

Learning, Memory and Price Awareness

Learning and memory are different sides of the same behavioral coin, and, therefore, it is necessary to relate the different ways of processing information to learning. A key issue in the psychology of learning is the difference between intentional and incidental learning. Incidental learning is learning that happens by chance, or where there is no active information search. It can be compared to intentional learning which is learning resulting from an active search for information. Extending this notion to consumer behavior, intentional learning is a result of an active search for information before, during, or after actual shopping. During actual shopping, the active search for information would include comparing alternative choices on their different attributes including price. Interim processing, or the attention to lists of items in memory, has been said to be the type of information processing used in intentional learning. The key point here is that the method and depth of information processing used during learning is critically important when using memory tests to determine the extent of prior learning. However, researchers have concluded that learning can occur under conditions of low attention and of passive information processing. Hence, there has been a renewed interest in a second type of learning: incidental learning.

Incidental learning has been called low-involvement or low-commitment learning by consumer researchers, and these researchers suggest that most of consumer behavior learning is incidental in nature (Bettman 1979a; Robertson 1976). Therefore, this research proceeds on the premise that most grocery shopping situations are of an incidental learning nature. The primary distinction between intentional or incidental learning is the degree the shopper consciously attempts to acquire and process relevant information concerning the choice to be made.

The evidence to date is compelling that memory performance (and learning) is influenced more by the nature of the processing activities engaged in by the individual than by the intention to learn per se (Eysenck 1982). Therefore, if a shopper engages in activities that include the comparing of prices of several items in a choice set, this interitem processing serves as an elaborative function between the chosen item and other product and price information. It is this forming of associations in memory that tend to facilitate the recall of specific information at a later time. On the other hand, if a shopper attends to only information about the chosen or preferred item, then associations are not formed as readily in memory, and the information about the item is more distinguishable from other encoded information in memory. This intraitem processing is of more importance for recognition memory (Eysenck 1982).

Recall vs. Recognition

These two types of learning can have different effects on the recall and recognition of price information, but first, the distinction between recall and recognition must be made.

Recall is the mental reproduction of a response or item that has been experienced or learned before, whereas recognition is deciding (or awareness) that a stimulus has been experienced before (Adams 1980). The distinction between the two measures involves whether or not the alternatives are presented to the subject. If we ask, "What is the capital of X?" we are testing recall, but if we ask, "What is the capitol of X: A, B, C, or D?", then we are testing recognition (Murdock 1982). Recognition gives cues to the subject which can trigger the memory to retrieve the desired information. Recall gives no such cues. Therefore, although the information might be in memory, there are no cues given to start the retrieval process for that information.

Recall has been the most common method used in the past for measuring learning effectiveness. With respect to the price awareness literature, recall has been used to determine whether or not consumers are aware of prices they pay for items in grocery stores. Some of the studies used aided recall in that products were shown to consumers who were then asked to give the price of the product (Heller 1974; Progressive Grocer 1977). Several studies used free recall where no product or cue was given to the consumer and subjects were simply asked to give the correct price for a particular item (Gabor and Granger 1961).

Information Processing and Price Awareness

An important aspect of the information processing perspective concerns the actual way humans actively process incoming stimulus information. This process depends on the amount of attention focused on the incoming information and the degree people attempt to associate this new information with other incoming information and/or with information already stored in memory.

Interitem processing, which has been said to be the type of processing used in intentional learning, is the attention of lists of items together in memory and is especially important for recall (Eysenck 1982, p. 204). Shoppers who are comparing alternative items or comparing available information about items are likely engaging in interitem processing.-- These comparison shoppers therefore are involved in a form of intentional learning.

Intraitem processing, which has been said to be the type of processing used in incidental learning, is the attention to one item at a time in memory. In the usual shopping situation, shoppers probably are processing one item at a time as they shop. Therefore, most of the learning occurring in such a situation is probably incidental learning

RETRIEVAL PROCESSES

The implicit conceptual model used in previous price awareness studies assumes a common sequence of activities. That is, exposure to a price leads initially to perceptual activities, then information processing, and finally to a memory trace. Price awareness research has focussed on the output of this process, the memory trace, without regard to the internal structure or process of memory. Recently, a number of researchers have called attention to the relevance of modern theories of memory for understanding the role of price in consumer behavior.

Overall, these theories hold that there is a degree to which a piece of information can be retained. The more attention or rehearsal given the information or event, the more likely it will be permanently stored and become available for processing at some later point in time. It is also important to learn how information is retrieved from memory to select the best test of price awareness for consumers.

Retrieval processes, or the utilization of stored information, can range from immediate access for familiar items to involved search processes for other items. The more familiar the item, the faster the retrieval. The retrieval process interacts with the way in which the individual structured the information for rehearsal (coding), what is stored in memory and the form in which it was stored (transfer), and where the information was stored (placement (Bettman 1979a). These memory control processes are the strategies people use to control the flow of information into and out of memory.

Retrieval of information from memory is an important memory control process. The previously mentioned control processes interact with retrieval. If the decision strategies used for the structuring and placing of an item of information in memory cannot be retrieved, then the item may not be accessible. Therefore, forgetting is not necessarily a decay or loss of items, but a failure of the retrieval process (Murdock 1982).

Certain cues can initiate the retrieval process if they are similar to the information stored in memory. If they are not similar, retrieval may be inhibited. Other things which may affect the retrieval process are searching in the wrong "part" of memory (i.e., the wrong set of associations), running out of time to perform the search, or losing one's place in the search (Bettman 1979b, p. 59). Therefore, when testing for price awareness it is imperative to consider the type of learning involved and to select the memory test appropriate for the retrieval task.

The way in which information is processed should dictate whether a recall or recognition test of learning is necessary (Bettman 1979b). For example, a brand choice decision made in a store may need only a recognition type test because the choice may be distinguishable without searching through a network of associations (Singh and Rothschild 19835.

Current research results tend to support the generalization that intention to learn has little effect on recognition memory. However, as discussed above, interitem processing serves as an elaboration function by developing associations between the item of interest, price, and other information. It is this type of processing that is of greatest value for recall. The inference then is, for incidental learning situations, recognition memory tests may be more appropriate for measuring awareness. Since there is a consensus among consumer researchers that much of purchasing behavior is incidental learning involving intraitem processing, then recognition would seem to be a better measure of consumer price awareness.

METHODS FOR STUDYING RECOGNITION

There are two basic research methods for recognition memory: method of single stimuli, and forced choice. Both methods begin with stimuli exposure to respondents and then, later, require the respondents to identify the previously exposed stimuli, old, from among new stimuli. The differences in the methods arise in how the recognition test is conducted.

Method of Single Stimuli

In the method of single stimuli the old and new stimuli are mixed and presented one at a time to the respondents. The respondents judge each stimulus as "old" or "new". The problem with this procedure is that response bias easily can occur. For example, a subject could designate all stimuli as "old" or all stimuli as "new". In each instance, the subject will have correctly "recognized" all old stimuli, or all new stimuli. In the first situation, the subject would achieve a 100 per cent recognition score, while in the second situation a zero percent score would result. Thus, percent correctly recognized is an inadequate measure for this method. Although it is possible to correct statistically for guessing, the response bias resulting from a subject's motivation to respond remains an issue. Currently, the motivation to respond taken by the subject is called the subject's decision criterion.

To overcome the problem with the percent correct measure and to consider the subject's criterion, psychologists have applied the Theory of Signal Detection. Applying this theory to recognition memory assumes that a subject has a psychological continuum of familiarity for items. It is also assumed that the subject sets a criterion along the continuum and uses it during the recognition test to judge whether an item is familiar or not. If the item is judged to be "more familiar" than the criterion, the subject responds "old", otherwise the response is "new" There are four types of responses: hits, false alarms, correct rejections, and misses. Hits and correct rejections are correct responses, while misses and false alarms are errors.

The use of signal-detection analysis may be justified on both empirical and theoretical bases (Murdock 1982). From an empirical basis, in most cases the data meet the underlying assumptions, in particular, that the underlying distributions are normal with equal variances. From a theoretical basis, the conceptualization underlying Signal Detection Theory is congruent with contemporary information processing view of cognitive psychology. In particular, the strength of the memory trace of the old items is what influences the decision to judge old or new when the stimulus is presented.

The measure for sensory-perceptual discrimination is

d' = z(false alarm) - z(hit),   (1)

where z is the standard (or z) score corresponding to the false alarm and hit rates. If d' = 0, then the implication is the subject could not discriminate between the old and new items. If d' < 0, then either there is measurement error, or the subject is intentionally giving incorrect responses. If d' > 0, then the subject has been able to discriminate between the old and new items. Since d' is a standard score it is comparable to other d' scores, and the larger the score, the stronger was the discriminability of the subjects.

Forced-Choice Method

In the forced-choice method, the old stimulus item is presented simultaneously with one or more alternative new stimuli and the subject must discriminate the old item from the new ones. Since the subject is forced to discriminate between several stimuli and declare one as "old", the response bias problem no longer applies. Thus, percent correct is an acceptable measure of recognition for this method. In an m-alternative forced-choice test, the subject is assumed to be choosing the strongest of the m alternatives. Essentially, criterion effects are absent, and percentage correct is an acceptable measure. Tables are available to convert the percentage correct measures to the d' statistic, if desired (Hacker and Ratcliff 1979)

However, while the percentage correct measure is acceptable, it does not give a "true" measure of recognition because different ways of defining the test will give different recognition scores. Recognition accuracy has been shown to be affected by the number of alternatives, m, and the similarity of the stimuli. Further, although the problem of response bias has been removed, the problem of guessing remains As might be expected the greater the number of alternatives in the forced-choice test, the lower the recognition accuracy. Since recognition testing essentially tests discriminability, it is intuitive that the more similar the alternatives, the lower the recognition accuracy. The more similar the alternatives are, the more difficult it will be to discriminate the old item from the new items.

The third problem associated with the forced-choice method is the possibility that the subject will guess which item is "old". Assuming the subject does guess, then each of the m alternatives has l/m chance of being selected. Thus, the traditional correction formula for guessing gives the "true" recognition score as

PT = (mpm-l) / (m-1), (2)

where pm is the recognition accuracy score. However, this correction for guessing depends directly on the number of alternatives, m, and, therefore, reduces the comparability of scores from different m-size tests. Thus, it has been suggested that the accuracy scores for different size tests could be equated by computing the correction score using a standard alternative size, m = 10 (Clarke 1964):

p10 = (m-l) pm/ [9+(m-10)pm]  (3)

Measures of Recognition Memory

The three main measures in the study of recognition memory are accuracy, latency, and confidence (Murdock 1982). Accuracy is determined by the proportion of correct responses, latency is the length of time elapsing between presentation of the testing item and the time of test, and confidence judgments are the subjects' assessment of their own accuracy.

Accuracy. One of the main advantages of using signal-detection theory is that it provides an economical summary statistic (d') to characterize overall accuracy (Murdock 1982). The d' statistic combines the measures of performance on old and new items. The subject is given an item and must search memory to determine whether the item is an old or new one. In a forced-choice procedure, the subject is choosing the strongest of m-alternatives and since criterion effects are absent, percentage correct is an acceptable measure (Murdock 1982).

Latency. Latency, or the time between presentation of the test and the response, is a supporting measure of accuracy. It is a function of the size of the test set, the serial position of the correct item in a forced-choice test, and the time lag between initial exposure to the item and the test itself.

The larger the test set, or number of choices in a forced-choice test, the longer the latency score. In addition, the subject who scans the list item by item until the correct answer is found will have a lower latency score than the subject who makes a complete scan of all the items and then goes back and chooses the correct answer. Furthermore, as the time between initial exposure and the test increases (time lag) the latency score tents to increase.

The latency measure is important because it gives some support to the accuracy measure. The longer the latency, the lower the accuracy. Without latency data, only partial measures of performance would be obtained (Murdock 1982).

Confidence. Confidence is another supporting measure for accuracy and is usually measured on a rating scale. The general relationship between the two measures is positive. That is, as accuracy increases, so does the level of confidence. In addition, the confidence scores give some idea as to whether the subject happened to guess the correct answer. If guessing does occur, the confidence rating would be low thereby indicating that the high accuracy score was just a lucky guess.

Obtaining Price Recognition Measures

As explained above, there are three main measures of recognition memory: accuracy, latency, and confidence. Both latency and confidence are supporting measures of accuracy, and enhance the interpretability of the accuracy measure. To use price recognition as an indicator of price awareness requires the selection of either the method of single stimuli or the forced-choice method. Traditional laboratory research on recognition memory proceeds on the basis that respondents are given specific instructions about a later memory test and are given the prior probability for the "hit" rate. On the other hand, a field study might entail approaching a shopper in a natural setting without prior instructions or probability information. Thus, using a m-alternative forced-choice test provides a subject with the prior probability of a correct response (L/m) and does not require prior learning instructions. Therefore, if the research setting is outside the laboratory, it would seem that the forced-choice method is more appropriate.

Data Collection. To illustrate how the price recognition measures can be obtained, the following test procedure is assumed. Shoppers are approached singly after a purchase selection has been made and are asked to indicate which of five alternative prices is the actual price for the selected item. Then the shoppers are asked to rate how confident they are that the chosen price is correct. It is also possible to ask the shoppers to indicate their degree of confidence that the non-chosen prices are incorrect. (Another variation would be to ask the shoppers to make a second choice and to rate their confidence that the second choice is correct.) The latency measure is obtained by timing the shoppers' responses from presentation of the stimuli set to price selection.

Data Analysis To illustrate the analytical procedures, assume 500 shoppers are approached and asked to choose the actual price of a previously selected item using an alternative forced-choice method. Also assume that the respondents then rate their confidence that the chosen price is correct using the four-point rating scale shown in Table 1A. The sample data in Table 1A correspond to a 90 percent price accuracy score. The confidence rating scale provides additional information about a shopper's criterion for accepting a given price as correct. Also, the confidence rating is directly related to the accuracy of the recognition task.

TABLE 1

ILLUSTRATION FOR DATA ANALYSIS

In a m-alternate forced-choice experiment with confidence ratings, the independent probabilities P(Ri|Cr), P(Ri|Ir), and P(Cr) give a complete description of the behavior of the shoppers in the price-recognition task. When using a confidence rating scale, the cumulative conditional probability at any rating given a correct or incorrect response is assumed to represent the decision criterion of the subjects. Thus, the rating approach assumes that humans are capable of adopting multiple decision criteria. The conditional probability P(Ri|Cr) assumes that people would select a price only if they were very sure it was the actual price. Continuing in this manner the cumulative conditional probability EQUATION. Assuming that R2 represents a less strict criterion, then the observations using a more strict criterion (R1) would also be accepted for R2. The value of d' can be determined from the table in Hacker and Ratcliff (1979) using P(Cr) and the m. For the illustrative data in Sable 1, P(Cr) = 450/500 = 0.90, m = 5. and from the 1979 table, d' = 2.60.

Latency. The above discussion has focussed primarily on response accuracy. However, another important dependent variable in recognition memory tests is latency - the length of time elapsing between presentation of the test items and subject's response. As has been presented here, most models of recognition memory employ the decision orientation of signal detection theory. However, it is likely that a more complex process than simple direct memory access is occurring.

At issue is the nature of the retrieval process used to extract information from long-term memory. It seems clear that retrieval processes involve some form of memory scan or search. Successful search for an item depends on the properties of the trace and the amount of information available to the individual during retrieval (Mandler 1980). Although the retrieval processes involved in recall and recognition are not inherently different, they do differ to the extent that the retrieval information present at the time of recall is different from that at the time of recognition.

In a forced-choice recognition test, the use of latency (or response time) allows for inferences about the retrieval process being used. Assuming that a price recognition task can be separated into four stages, these stages might be: stimulus encoding, comparison, decision, and response. The comparison stage involves a scan or search of memory to determine whether a test price can be matched to information in memory. If for a recognition memory test, subjects serially scan and compare the entire set of test items before decision and response, then response time will be an increasing function of set size. On the other hand, if there is no relationship between response time and set size, the implication is that subjects were involved in parallel scanning, in which all items of a set are searched simultaneously. If the serial scanning model is correct, then the slope of the latency function is a measure of the scanning rate in the comparison stage. If the experimental manipulations affected either of the other stages, these differences should show up in the intercept of the latency function.

While generally, latency and accuracy would be expected to be negatively correlated, it is sometimes found that they are positively correlated. Such a positive relationship has been called the speed-accuracy trade-off. This trade-off relationship makes it important to collect both accuracy and latency data when testing recognition memory. For if only accuracy measures have been obtained, there is no opportunity to determine if subjects have compensated either for serial position of the correct test item or are simply guessing without performing a retrieval process.

Independent Variable Issues

There are several independent variables that should be considered when measuring price awareness through recognition memory tests: time lag, serial position, relative price position, and products included in the study. The time lag is the elapsed time from when the subject picks up the product to the time of the price awareness test. The time lag can vary across each subject if several products are used for each person. The time lag is important in order to get an idea of its effect on price awareness accuracy. Assuming additional shopping occurs during the time lag, then the longer the time lag the more there will be distractions, making it more difficult to retrieve the correct price.

The serial position is the actual position of the price in the forced-choice recognition test and should be varied to prevent a potential bias toward the actual price. That is, the actual price should not always be in the same position. Further, as noted earlier, if serial scanning occurs, the serial position may influence the latency measure.

The relative price position is the numerical value the actual price has relative to the other alternatives in the forced-choice test. For example, the actual price could be the highest number, the middle number or the lowest number of the choices in the test. The relative price position should be changed randomly to avoid any selection bias towards a particular relative value affecting the accuracy measure.

The actual grocery products used in any price awareness accuracy study employing recognition tests should be at least $1.25 in price or more per item. This price is chosen so as to exclude those items that do not allow for a sufficient range of incorrect prices to be offered in the recognition test. Prices that are under $1.25 create a problem in that some of the incorrect prices would be over $1.00 while some incorrect prices might be under $1.00. As mentioned above, the more similar the test items,the more difficult it is to recognize the correct price. Therefore, the alternative prices should be in the same general price range.

There are several product categories which would be difficult to include in an in-store intercept recognition memory test. These categories include meats, produce, and some dairy products. The reason for this is that it would be difficult to determine the actual prices of these products before administering the test unless the interviewer checked into the subjects' shopping carts.

CONCLUSIONS

According to traditional price theory, buyers are assumed to know the prices they pay, and are assumed to be price sensitive in that they will search for lower-priced alternatives. The research evidence reviewed earlier suggest that buyers may not be knowledgeable about the prices they pay, particularly for frequently purchased and relatively low-priced goods. Moreover, buyers do not always purchase lower-priced alternatives and buyers do not always buy less at higher prices. The inability of this limited evidence to verify the simple explanation of the influence of price on buyer behavior means a more careful study of buyers' (1) price awareness, (2) price perceptions, and (3) price sensitivity is necessary. The extent that buyers are aware of the prices they pay influences the way prices are perceived and the degree that buyers are sensitive to price differences and price changes. Therefore, a necessary first step is to develop a better understanding of the degree buyers are aware of the prices they pay.

Research measuring buyers' price awareness typically has used a form of recall. That is, buyers have been asked to recall the prices they have paid for selected items familiar to them. The percentage of prices correctly remembered has ranged from two percent to 86 percent. For most product categories, the frequency of correctly remembered prices fell below 50 percent. Thus, this evidence seems to imply that few buyers know the prices they pay, and moreover, buyers do not seem to be sensitive to differences in prices for alternative comparable choices.

Essentially, previous price awareness research can be classified as a type of memory research emphasizing intentional learning. That is, the use of some form of unaided recall assumes that the behavior being assessed represents buyers' intent to notice and commit to memory (learn) the prices of the products being purchased. Yet, current thinking regards most of human learning as incidental rather than intentional. Also it has been determined that the level or depth of information processing is critically important for the later retrieval of that information. The depth of processing is determined by the extent to which meaningfulness is extracted from the material. Finally the deeper levels of processing are associated with elaboration that involves associating or organizing the material information in some way (interitem processing).

From the perspective of memory research, the issue of whether buyers are aware of prices of the products they purchase may not be answered correctly using only a recall methodology. Moreover, the relative inability to recall prices paid should not lead to the inference that buyers do not attend to price and are unaware of the prices they pay. An obvious issue with a recall memory test is whether the correct retrieval cues have been used. It seems plausible that most buyers can be classified as incidental learners. That is, they may attend to purchase information such as price, but do not elaborate on the information. The paying attention to a single item, such as price, without elaboration is called interitem processing, and is less likely to be retrieved using a recall methodology. Instead, recognition methodology would be a better approach to determine the degree buyers are aware of the prices they are expected to pay. Therefore, the relative inability to recall prices paid should not be used to infer that buyers do not attend to price and are unaware of the prices they pay.

The objective of this paper has been to provide the conceptual framework for research seeking more definitive answers to the question of whether buyers are aware of prices they pay. Previous research has been both sketchy and, based on memory research, may have used inappropriate and incomplete measures of price awareness. Before we can address the issue of how people perceive prices, i.e., encode price information with a degree of meaningfulness, it is important to have a clearer perspective on price awareness. Finally, the issue of buyers' price sensitivity to price changes and price differences can be addressed when we have better information on price awareness and price perception.

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