Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica
Is “He” frowning on Me? The impact of facial expression on customer attitude
XIE Zhipeng1; WANG Tao2
(1 School of Business and Administration, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan 430073, China) (2 Economics and Management School, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China)
Download: PDF(742 KB)   Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    

The appearance of the product provides an intuitive way of expressing emotion and value to its customers. Prior researches on anthropomorphism suggested that customers may see human related features in a product. Many researchers focus their attention on the human side of the products, yet few of them have studied the facial expressions in product design. In this research, the researchers discovered that the customers constantly extract facial expressions from products, and use them as cues in product evaluation. The researchers believe that the perceived luxury has a contradictory effect on customers’ perception of products with different expressions. In Study 1, the researchers conducted an online experiment which involved 132 participants. The participants read about different descriptions of cars. Then, the researchers presented the participants with pictures of the same car showing different facial expressions. After the participants finished assessing the pictures, they were required to indicate their attitude towards each car design. The result of Study 1 proved that customers prefer friendly face when the product is considered low in perceived luxury. In Study 2, the researchers used similar approaches to examine the impact of level of luxury on customer’s attitude towards different facial expressions. But instead of cars, the researchers chose phones as the main body of stimuli design to see whether the result can be applied to a broader context. 160 participants took part in an offline experiment. They were assigned randomly into 2 separate groups and showed descriptions of different levels of luxury. Then, they were required to report their attitude towards phones with different facial expressions. The purpose of Study 3 was to examine the mediation effect of perceived product autonomy. In this study, the researchers used brand logo designs with different facial expressions. The result of this research indicates that product’s aggressive expressions can give rise to customer attitude only for products positioned as premium or luxury; while for ordinary brands, aggressive expressions may do more harm than good. This effect is mediated by customer perceive product autonomy. This research is among the first endeavors to reveal the relationship between facial personification and customer attitude. It provides both managers and researchers guidelines to manage the facial expressions in product design.

Keywords product design      facial expression      autonomy      perceived luxury      social status.     
Corresponding Authors: XIE Zhipeng, E-mail: WANG Tao, E-mail:   
Issue Date: 25 May 2017
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
XIE Zhipeng
Cite this article:   
XIE Zhipeng,WANG Tao. Is “He” frowning on Me? The impact of facial expression on customer attitude[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.00680
URL:     OR
[1] DONG Shuyang; LIANG Xi; ZHANG Ying; WANG Zhengyan. Maternal positive parenting behaviors and toddler’s compliance: Prediction from maternal sensitivity in infancy and bidirectional effects of autonomy encouragement in toddlerhood[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(4): 460-471.
[2] SUN Juncai; SHI Rong. Attentional bias to crying facial expressions: Evidence from eye movements[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(2): 155-163.
[3] XU Shiyong; ZHU Jinqiang. Ethical leadership and pro-social rule breaking: A dual process model[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(1): 106-115.
[4] ZHANG Dandan; ZHAO Ting; LIU Yunzhe; CHEN Yuming. Comparison of Facial Expressions and Body Expressions:  An Event-related Potential Study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(8): 963-970.
[5] PAN Yingqiu. Development of Young Adolescents' Self-esteem and Influencing Factors: A Longitudinal Analysis[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(6): 787-796.
[6] YANG Yaping; XU Qiang; ZHANG Lin; DENG Peizhuang; LIANG Ningjian. Scenes Differing in Spatial Frequencies Affect Facial Expression Processing: Evidence from ERP[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(12): 1433-1444.
[7] ZHANG Meichen; WEI Ping; ZHANG Qin. The Impact of Supra- and Sub-liminal Facial Expressions on the Gaze-cueing Effect[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(11): 1309-1317.
[8] WEI Ping;KANG Guanlan;DING Jinhong;GUO Chunyan. Monetary Incentives Modulate the Processing of Emotional Facial Expressions: An ERP Study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(4): 437-449.
[9] YU Fengjie;ZHAO Jingxin;ZHANG Wenxin. The Development of Future Planning and Its Relation with Parenting Behaviors During Early and Middle Adolescence: The Mediating Effects of Behavioral Autonomy[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(6): 658-671.
[10] Wang-,Fu-Xiaolan. Effect of Discriminability on Interference Between Facial Expression and Facial Identity Recognition[J]. , 2007, 39(02): 191-200.
[11] Sui-Xue,Ren-Yantao. Online Processing of Facial Expression Recognition[J]. , 2007, 39(01): 64-70.
[12] Zhang Wenxin,Wang Meiping,Andrew-Fuligni. Expectations for Autonomy, Beliefs about Parental Authority, and Parent-Adolescent Conflict and Cohesion[J]. , 2006, 38(06): 868-876.
[13] Jiang Xin, Jing Qicheng(Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of sciences, Beijing, 100101). THE SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC INFLUENCES ON SIMPLESENTENCE COMPREHENSION IN CHINESE[J]. , 1999, 31(04): 361-368.
[14] Xu Xiangdong,Yang Jingquan,Lu Shuyun Oasis Hospital, Shihezi, Xinjiang. A PRELIMINARY STUDY ON SCHIZOPHRENIC PATIENT'S ABILITY TO DIFFERENTIATE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS OF ADULTS[J]. , 1992, 24(03): 83-91.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech