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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2019, Vol. 51 Issue (7) : 841-856     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00841
Reports of Empirical Studies |
Do numbers have shape? The matching effect between precise numerical information and brand logo shape
YANG Chen1,CHEN Zeng-Xiang2()
1 School of Business Administration, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510641, China
2 International School of Business & Finance, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519082, China
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Abstract  

Numerical information, such as time, temperature, prices, and product quality ratings, is widely used in our daily lives. As a representation of abstract concepts, numbers have been found to be associated with a concrete concept representation, which is spatial position. Our study enriches this line of research by exploring the association between numbers and shapes. Our study suggests that individuals may project shape information to precise or round numbers. Specifically, precise numbers (round numbers) are likely to be associated with angular shapes (circular shape). Marketing communication materials that feature angular (circular) brand logo shapes may result in favorable evaluations when the numerical information of the product is precise (round).
In the present study, we conducted four experiments to test the hypotheses. Study 1 used an Implicit Association Test to examine the implicit association between numbers and shapes. A total of 39 undergraduate students participated in study 1 (19 men) and were instructed to sort a series of stimuli (numerical and shape stimuli) into two categories as quickly as possible. In compatible blocks, the two categories were “precise or angular” and “round or circular.” In incompatible blocks, the two categories were “round or angular” and “precise or circular.” Study 2 sought to investigate the marketing implications of this association. A total of 125 adults (56 men) were shown an advertisement of a quilt. The advertisement contained no other information except the brand logo and numerical information. After reading the product information, all participants were asked to indicate their product attitudes. Study 3 investigated the mediation role of processing fluency. A total of 200 adult participants (105 men) were provided with information about a laptop bag. After reading the product information, all participants were asked to indicate their product evaluation and processing fluency. Study 4 investigated the boundary effect of concept association (“precise = male” vs. “precise = female”). The procedures consisted of two phases. A total of 244 adults completed a job perception study in phase 1, where the association of the salience concept was manipulated by asking the participants to rate 10 different jobs. In phase 2, the participants were shown an advertisement of a pad and were asked to indicate their perception on the product. In studies 2-4, numerical precision was manipulated through a description of product size, price, weight, or review scores.
The results of study 1 show that the participants classified compatible blocks faster than incompatible blocks. This finding supports the hypothesis that numerical precision and shapes are connected. Precise numbers were indeed associated with angular shape, whereas round numbers were associated with circular shape. The results of studies 2-4 confirm the marketing implications of the association between numbers and shapes. Marketing communications with an angular (circular) brand logo shape may result in favorable evaluations when the product numerical information is precise (round). Moreover, study 4 found the moderating effect of concept association. Consistent with the reasoning, when participants were informed with the “female = precise” association, the association between numerical precision and brand logo shape was reversed.
This research contributes to the literature of numerical cognition and brand logo shape. It provides managers with guidelines on brand logo design and product numerical information setting.

Keywords numerical information      brand logo shape      processing fluency     
ZTFLH:  B849: F713.55  
Corresponding Authors: Zeng-Xiang CHEN     E-mail: chzengx@mail.sysu.edu.cn
Issue Date: 22 May 2019
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Chen YANG,Zeng-Xiang CHEN. Do numbers have shape? The matching effect between precise numerical information and brand logo shape[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(7): 841-856.
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.00841     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2019/V51/I7/841
  
  
  
  
  
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