Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, Vol. 51 Issue (2) : 216-226     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00216
|
The shape-gender implicit association and its impact on consumer preference for product shapes
DING Ying,PANG Jun(),WANG Yansu
School of Business, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
Download: PDF(639 KB)   HTML Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks     Supporting Info
Guide   
Abstract  

Prior research on psychology and aesthetics has documented a general preference of human beings for rounded rather than angular shapes. However, recent research examining the symbolic meanings of shape suggests that individual’s shape preference is context-dependent. Our research extends the existing literature by proposing a new contextual factor that influences shape preference. We propose that shape is implicitly associated with gender, such that roundness is more associated with femininity whereas angularity is more associated with masculine. This association is applied to brand perceptions, leading consumer to more prefer rounded-shaped products when confronting a feminine brand but more prefer angular-shaped products when confronting a masculine brand.
Four studies were conducted to test our hypotheses. Study 1 used an Implicit Association Test to examine the implicit association between shape and gender. In Study 2, we examined the shape-gender association by asking participants to choose between a rounded-shaped product and an angular-shaped product for themselves. Study 3 retested the shape-gender association in the context of purchasing for others, and examined whether this association was implicit or not by asking the participants to write down the reasons for their choices. Study 4 demonstrated the implications of the shape-gender association by testing congruency effect of brand gender image and product shape on consumer preference. Participants were presented with either a feminine brand—Chanel or a masculine brand—Hugo Boss, and asked to choose the more preferred flash drive between a rounded-shaped option and an angular-shaped option. Following that, they evaluated perceived congruency between the product shape and the brand’s gender identity.
As predicted, results of Study 1 showed that participants classified male names faster when they were presented in an angular frame than in a rounded frame (t(92) = -2.10, p = 0.038), and this effect was reversed for female names (t(92) = 2.53, p = 0.013). Study 2 indicated that compared to male participants, female participants were more likely to choose the rounded-shaped products (sunglasses: χ 2(1) = 26.66, p < 0.001; perfume: χ 2(1) = 4.48, p = 0.03). Study 3 found similar effects when the participants chose products as a gift for others: they were more likely to choose the rounded-shaped product for a female friend than for a male friend (χ 2(1) = 3.71, p = 0.05). In addition, only 5 out of 97 participants mentioned recipients’ gender as the influencing factor of their choices, suggesting that the gender-shape association is implicit and beyond individuals’ awareness. Finally, Study 4 showed that compared to a masculine brand, a feminine brand led to a higher likelihood of choosing the rounded-shaped (vs. angular-shaped) product (χ 2(1) = 5.29, p = 0.02), and that this effect was mediated by perceived congruency between product shape and brand gender identity (95% CI = 0.01 ~ 1.82).
Our research is the first to formally test the implicit association between shape and gender. In addition, we demonstrate the implications of this association by showing that brand gender identity affects consumer preference for products with different shapes. These findings advance our knowledge of the contextual effect on consumers’ shape preference, and provide important implications on how to enhance a product’s market success by choosing the right shape design.

Keywords shape      gender      implicit association      product shape      brand gender identity     
ZTFLH:  B849: F713.55  
Corresponding Authors: Jun PANG     E-mail: pangjun@rmbs.ruc.edu.cn
Issue Date: 24 December 2018
Service
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
RSS
Articles by authors
Ying DING
Jun PANG
Yansu WANG
Cite this article:   
Ying DING,Jun PANG,Yansu WANG. The shape-gender implicit association and its impact on consumer preference for product shapes[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(2): 216-226.
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00216     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2019/V51/I2/216
选择结果 男性被试 女性被试
选择人数 百分比 选择人数 百分比
外形圆润的太阳镜 4 10.26% 36 63.16%
外形有棱角的太阳镜 35 89.74% 21 36.84%
人数总计 39 57
外形圆润的香水 14 35.90% 33 57.89%
外形有棱角的香水 25 64.10% 24 42.11%
人数总计 39 57
  
  
1 Aaker, J.L., & Lee A.Y, . ( 2006). Understanding regulatory fit. Journal of Marketing Research, 43( 1), 15-19.
2 Alreck P. L., Settle R. B., & Belch M. A . ( 1982). Who responds to “gendered” ads, and how? Masculine brands versus feminine brands. Journal of Advertising Research, 22( 2), 25-32.
3 Aronoff J., Barclay A. M., & Stevenson L. A . ( 1988). The recognition of threatening facial stimuli. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54( 4), 647-655.
4 Aronoff J., Woike B. A., & Hyman L. M . ( 1992). Which are the stimuli in facial displays of anger and happiness: Configurational bases of emotion recognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62( 6), 1050-1066.
5 Bar, M., & Neta M. ( 2006). Humans prefer curved visual objects. Psychological Science, 17( 8), 645-648.
6 Bar, M., & Neta M. ( 2007). Visual elements of subjective preference modulate amygdala activation. Neuropsychologia, 45( 10), 2191-2200.
7 Baron, R.M., & Kenny D.A, . ( 1986). The moderator- mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51( 6), 1173-1182.
8 Becker L., van Rompay, T. J. L., Schifferstein H. N. J., & Galetzka M . ( 2011). Tough package, strong taste: The influence of packaging design on taste impressions and product evaluations. Food Quality and Preference, 22( 1), 17-23.
9 Bem, S.L . ( 1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42( 2), 155-162.
10 Bem S. L. ( Ed).( 1981) . Bem sex-role inventory: Professional manual . Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
11 Bern, S.L . ( 1981). Gender schema theory: A cognitive account of sex typing. Psychological Review, 88( 4), 354-364.
12 Bertamini M., Palumbo L., Gheorghes T. N., & Galatsidas M . ( 2016). Do observers like curvature or do they dislike angularity? British Journal of Psychology, 107( 1), 154-178.
13 Cao, Y., & Fu, G.Q . ( 2012). Consumer evaluations of brand extensions: The influences of brand user image. Chinese Journal of Management, 9( 5), 723-728.
13 [ 曹颖, 符国群 . ( 2012). 使用者形象一致性及形象强度对品牌延伸的影响. 管理学报, 9( 5), 723-728.]
14 Cesario J., Grant H., & Higgins E. T . ( 2004). Regulatory fit and persuasion: Transfer from “feeling right.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86( 3), 388-404.
15 Crisp R. J., Farrow C. V., Rosenthal H. E. S., Walsh J., Blissett J., & Penn, N. M. K. ( 2009). Interpersonal attachment predicts identification with groups. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45( 1), 115-122.
16 Cross, S.E., & Madson L. ( 1997). Models of the self: Self-construals and gender. Psychological Bulletin, 122( 1), 5-37.
17 Elliot, A.J., & Niesta D. ( 2008). Romantic red: Red enhances men’s attraction to women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95( 5), 1150-1164.
18 Fournier, S. ( 1998). Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research, 24( 4), 343-373.
19 Furnham A., Tan T., & McManus C . ( 1997). Waist-to-hip ratio and preferences for body shape: A replication and extension. Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, 22( 4), 539-549.
20 Gawronski, B., & Bodenhausen G.V, . ( 2006). Associative and propositional processes in evaluation: An integrative review of implicit and explicit attitude change. Psychological Bulletin, 132( 5), 692-731.
21 Goff P. A., Eberhardt J. L., Williams M. J., & Jackson M. C . ( 2008). Not yet human: Implicit knowledge, historical dehumanization, and contemporary consequences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94( 2), 292-306.
22 Gordon, K. ( Ed). ( 1909). Esthetics. New York: Henry Holt.
23 Grohmann, B. ( 2009). Gender dimensions of brand personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 46( 1), 105-119.
24 Hayes, A.F . ( 2009). Beyond Baron and Kenny: Statistical mediation analysis in the new millennium. Communication Monographs, 76( 4), 408-420.
25 Hevner, K. ( 1935). Experimental studies of the affective value of colors and lines. Journal of Applied Psychology, 19( 4), 385-398.
26 Honea, H., & Horsky S. ( 2012). The power of plain: Intensifying product experience with neutral aesthetic context. Marketing Letters, 23( 1), 223-235.
27 Jiang Y., Gorn G. J., Galli M., & Chattopadhyay A . ( 2016). Does your company have the right logo? How and why circular- and angular-logo shapes influence brand attribute judgments. Journal of Consumer Research, 42( 5), 709-726.
28 Johnson, K.L., & Tassinary L.G, . ( 2005). Perceiving sex directly and indirectly: Meaning in motion and morphology. Psychological Science, 16( 11), 890-897.
29 Jones J. T., Pelham B. W., Carvallo M., & Mirenberg M. C . ( 2004). How do I love thee? Let me count the Js: Implicit egotism and interpersonal attraction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87( 5), 665-683.
30 Kim H., Park K., & Schwarz N . ( 2010). Will this trip really be exciting? The role of incidental emotions in product evaluation. Journal of Consumer Research, 36( 6), 983-991.
31 Labroo A. A., Dhar R., & Schwarz N . ( 2007). Of frog wines and frowning watches: Semantic priming, perceptual fluency, and brand evaluation. Journal of Consumer Research, 34( 6), 819-831.
32 Lee, A.Y., & Labroo A.A, . ( 2004). The effect of conceptual and perceptual fluency on brand evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research, 41( 2), 151-165.
33 Li D. J., Li Y., & Wu R. J . ( 2013). Consumer aesthetic experience in product design. Advances in Psychological Science, 21( 2), 336-346.
33 [ 李东进, 李研, 武瑞娟 . ( 2013). 产品设计领域的消费者审美体验. 心理科学进展, 21, 336-346.]
34 Lippa, R. ( 1983). Sex typing and the perception of body outlines. Journal of Personality, 51( 4), 667-682.
35 Lundholm, H. ( 1921). The affective tone of lines: Experimental researches. Psychological Review, 28( 1), 43-60.
36 Marti B., Tuomilehto J., Salomaa V., Kartovaara L., Korhonen H. J., & Pietinen P . ( 1991). Body fat distribution in the Finnish population: Environmental determinants and predictive power for cardiovascular risk factor levels. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 45( 2), 131-137.
37 Meyers-Levy, J., & Tybout A.M, . ( 1989). Schema congruity as a basis for product evaluation. Journal of Consumer Research, 16( 1), 39-54.
38 Orth, U.R., & Malkewitz K. ( 2008). Holistic package design and consumer brand impressions. Journal of Marketing, 72( 3), 64-81.
39 Semin, G.R., & Palma T.A, . ( 2014). Why the bride wears white: Grounding gender with brightness. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24( 2), 217-225.
40 Silvia, P.J., & Barona C.M, . ( 2009). Do people prefer curved objects? Angularity, expertise, and aesthetic preference. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 27( 1), 25-42.
41 Singh, D. ( 1993). Adaptive significance of female physical attractiveness: Role of waist-to-hip ratio. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65( 2), 293-307.
42 Singh, D. ( 1995). Female judgment of male attractiveness and desirability for relationships: Role of waist-to-hip ratio and financial status. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69( 6), 1089-1101.
43 Sirgy, M.J . ( 1982). Self-concept in consumer behavior: A critical review. Journal of Consumer Research, 9( 3), 287-300.
44 Spence, C. ( 2012). Managing sensory expectations concerning products and brands: Capitalizing on the potential of sound and shape symbolism. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22( 1), 37-54.
45 Underwood, R.L . ( 2003). The communicative power of product packaging: Creating brand identity via lived and mediated experience. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 11( 1), 62-76.
46 Wang H. Z., Fan X. W., & Ouyang J. Y . ( 2017). Consumer self-construal, need of uniqueness and preference of brand logo shape. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 49( 8), 1113-1124.
46 [ 王海忠, 范孝雯, 欧阳建颖 . ( 2017). 消费者自我构念、独特性需求与品牌标识形状偏好. 心理学报, 49, 1113-1124.]
47 Winkielman P., Schwarz N., Fazendeiro, T. a, & Reber, R .( 2003). The hedonic marking of processing fluency: Implications for evaluative judgment In J Musch & K C Klauer (Eds), The psychology of evaluation: Affective processes in cognition and emotion (pp 189-217) Chicago: Psychology Press.
48 Zhang Y., Feick L., & Price L. J . ( 2006). The impact of self-construal on aesthetic preference for angular versus rounded shapes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32( 6), 794-805.
49 Zhu, R., & Argo J.J, . ( 2013). Exploring the impact of various shaped seating arrangements on persuasion. Journal of Consumer Research, 40( 2), 336-349.
[1] WU Yan, GAO Yuefei, ZHAO Simin, WANG Suiping. The effects of discourse context and world knowledge on pronoun resolution[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(3): 293-303.
[2] Zhongyi YI,Wendeng YANG,Haosheng YE. Influence of soft and hard tactical experiences on gender role cognition[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(7): 793-802.
[3] WU Meng, CHEN Xinyin, ZHANG Ying, LU Shan, WANG Zhengyan.  Maternal control strategies and children’s compliance among urban and rural-to-urban migrant families[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(5): 517-527.
[4] WANG Guan, ZHOU Pei, ZHANG Kaili, WANG Pei.  The effect of perceptual load on the multiple social categories processing of faces[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(3): 270-282.
[5] WANG Haizhong, FAN Xiaowen, OUYANG Jianying.  Consumer self-construal, need of uniqueness and preference of brand logo shape[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(8): 1113-1124.
[6] HENG Shupeng, ZHOU Zongkui, NIU Gengfeng, LIU Qingqi.  Priming effects of virtual avatars on aggression: Influence of violence and player gender[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(11): 1460-1472.
[7] CAO Yanmiao; WANG Meiping; CAO Cong; JI Linqin; ZHANG Wenxin. The interaction between dopamine D2 receptor gene TaqIA polymorphim and peer victimization on early adolescent depression[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(1): 28-39.
[8] HOU Jinqin; CHEN Zhiyan. The trajectories of adolescent depressive symptoms: Identifying latent subgroups and risk factors[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(8): 957-968.
[9] NI Xudong; XIANG Xiaoxia; YAO Chunxu. Balance of team diversity’ effects on team creativity[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(5): 556-565.
[10] HE Ning; ZHU Yunli. Self-love and other-love: Research on the relationships among narcissism, empathy and implicit altruism[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(2): 199-210.
[11] YUE Pengfei; DU Wanwan; BAI Xuejun; XU Yuanli. When does Inhibition of Affect Labeling Occur: ERP Study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(9): 1124-1132.
[12] QIAN Miao; ZHOU Lixia; LU Tiantian; WENG Mengxing; FU Genyue. Theoretical Construction and Empirical Research on A Preschooler-friendly Implicit Association Test[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(7): 903-913.
[13] WU Binxing; ZHANG Zhijun; SUN Yusheng. Facial Familiarity Modulates the Interaction between Facial Gender and Emotional Expression[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(10): 1201-1212.
[14] YAN Bihua; JI Ming; ZHAO Xiaojun; TU Jinlu; YOU Xuqun. Predictive Effect of Implicit Safety Attitudes on Safety Performance in Aviation Safety Culture[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(1): 119-128.
[15] HU Xueping;SUN Jimin;CAO Rui;YAO Wenqing;WANG Meizhu. The Impact of the Perceptual Similarity of Concrete Objects’ Shape in Visual Metaphor Processing[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(5): 607-620.
Viewed
Full text


Abstract

Cited

  Shared   
  Discussed   
Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech