Shape- and Trait-Congruency: Using Appearance-Based Cues As a Basis for Product Recommendations
Journal of Consumer Psychology (Forthcoming)
28 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2018 Last revised: 3 Oct 2018
Date Written: June 19, 2018
This research demonstrates that a consumer’s physical appearance—and, more specifically, his or her body size—predictably influences the product(s) that the consumer is recommended. Four studies conducted in both field and lab settings show that agents more frequently recommend round (vs. angular) shaped products to heavier targets, notably for products and categories in which body size is irrelevant (e.g., lamps and perfume). We attribute this to a combination of shape-congruency and trait-congruency, whereby individuals choose products for others based on shared dimensions of the person and product.
Keywords: Agents, Recommendations, Word of Mouth, Field Experiments, Attributions and inference making
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