Faculty Publications


The complexity of consumers' cognitive structures and its relevance to consumer behavior.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Karin Braunsberger

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 2004

Date Available

May 2013




Consumers make numerous product decisions every day. This decision-making process depends on the information processing style employed. A key factor here is the complexity of a consumer’s cognitive structures (i.e., the sophistication of the structures used to organize information). Although this construct, cognitive complexity, holds much promise for consumer behavior, several questions remain to be answered and were addressed by the present research. First, the results of the present research indicate that the Repertory Grid, developed in social interaction contexts, is a reliable instrument for measuring cognitive complexity in the consumer behavior domain. Second, the results further suggest the presence of a generalizable—as well as a context-specific—component of cognitive complexity. The generalizable component of cognitive complexity indicates that these knowledge structures are transferable across related product categories. As such, cognitive complexity is likely to impact consumer processing of product information and advertising messages.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Journal of Business Research, 57(6), 575. doi:10.1016/S0148-2963(02)00396-X Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Elsevier Science Inc.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.