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Drawing upon findings from human face perception that high width-to-height face ratio (fWHR) signals dominance trait, this research proposes that high fWHR of a product face also leads to the product being perceived highly dominant, much like the high fWHR of human faces does. Whereas human faces with more dominant features are less liked, high ratio product faces leads to the products being liked more, as revealed by greater consumer preference and willingness to pay. We ascribe this seemingly opposite effect in the product domain to the fact that perceiving dominance cue from product face is motivationally charged and contextually dependent. We show that these effects occur because people perceive the product faces as part of the self. Consistent with goal compatibility account, dominance goal enhances perception of dominance from and increases the positive evaluations of high ratio product faces, whereas conflicting goals and goal incompatible contexts inhibits the ratio effects. The results of five studies suggest that people choose dominant-looking products to construct their symbolic dominance status.
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Aggarwal, P., & McGill, A. L. (2007). Is that car smiling at me? Schema congruity as a basis for evaluating anthropomorphized products. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(4), 468–479. CrossRef
Lefevre, C. E., Lewis, G. J., Perrett, D. I., & Penke, L. (2013). Telling facial metrics: Facial width is associated with testosterone levels in men. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34(4), 273–279. CrossRef
- Anthropomorphism and the Effect of Product Face Ratios on Consumer Preferences
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