A Sign of Things to Come: Behavioral Change Through Dynamic Iconography

21 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2015 Last revised: 11 Jan 2016

See all articles by Luca Cian

Luca Cian

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Aradhna Krishna

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Ryan Elder

Brigham Young University - J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott School of Management

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

We propose that features of static visuals can lead to perceived movement (via dynamic imagery) and prepare the observer for action. We operationalize our research within the context of warning sign icons and show how subtle differences in iconography can affect human behavioral response. Across five studies incorporating multiple methodologies and technologies (click-data heat maps, driving simulations, surveys, reaction time, and eye tracking), we show that warning sign icons that evoke more (vs. less) perceived movement lead to a quicker propensity to act because they suggest greater risk to oneself or others and increase attentional vigilance. Icons used in our studies include children crossing signs near schools, wet floor signs in store settings, and shopping cart crossings near malls.

Our findings highlight the importance of incorporating dynamic elements into icon design to promote imagery and thereby elicit desired and responsible consumer behavior.

Keywords: dynamic imagery, traffic, sign, perceived movement, risk, attentional vigilance, transformative consumer research

JEL Classification: M30, M39, M3, D18, J18, J28

Suggested Citation

Cian, Luca and Krishna, Aradhna and Elder, Ryan, A Sign of Things to Come: Behavioral Change Through Dynamic Iconography (2015). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 41, No. 4, 2015; Darden Business School Working Paper No. 2583173. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2583173

Luca Cian (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Aradhna Krishna

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

Ryan Elder

Brigham Young University - J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott School of Management ( email )

Provo, UT 84602
United States

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