Appearances can be deceiving: The portayal of weight and embodied meaning portrayal in product design

Thomas van Rompay, Francien Verdenius, Vanessa Okken, Ad Pruyn

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    155 Downloads (Pure)


    First impressions often arise from visual perceptions of product appearance, later to be followed by multisensory impressions involving touch and haptic sensations. These subsequent sensations may sometimes reinforce impressions generated by product appearance, but lead to disappointment when expectations are not met. In this paper, the relationship between weight, product evaluation, and consumer personality is tested. Based on the embodied cognition framework, it is argued that a potential pitfall of downsizing consumer electronics consists in accompanied weight reductions, inspiring perceptions of products as cheap and flimsy. In order to substantiate this claim, in study 1, a vision-only study was conducted, clearly demonstrating that people prefer compact, slender product variants over more voluminous versions. In study 2, actual dummy phones were used and product weight was manipulated independently from product appearance. Results show that lightweight variants may reduce value perceptions and product appeal, but that this effect varies with consumer personality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication9th International Conference on Design and Emotion 2014
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Colors of Care
    EditorsJuan Salamanca, Pieter Desmet, Andrés Burbano, Geke Dina Simone Ludden, Jorge Maya
    PublisherUniversidad de los Andes
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Electronic)9789587740707
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
    Event9th International Conference on Design and Emotion 2014: The Colors of Care - Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
    Duration: 6 Oct 201410 Oct 2014
    Conference number: 9


    Conference9th International Conference on Design and Emotion 2014
    Internet address


    • Embodied cognition
    • Haptic sensations
    • Personality
    • Product appearance
    • Value perceptions

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