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Kim and colleagues investigated how people who are blind think about color.  They determined that “congenitally blind and sighted individuals share in-depth understanding of object color. Blind and sighted people share similar intuitions about which objects will have consistent colors, make similar predictions for novel objects, and give similar explanations. Living among people who talk about color is sufficient for color understanding, highlighting the efficiency of linguistic communication as a source of knowledge.. . . People develop intuitive and inferentially rich ‘theories’ of color regardless of visual experience.”

Judy Kim, Brianna Aheimer, Veronica Manrara, and Marina Bedney.  2021.  “Shared Understanding of Color Among Sighted and Blind Adults.”  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 118, no. 33, e2020192118,

Zhou, Chen, and Liconducted intriguing shape-related research; studies replicating their findings in other than the tested contexts will be useful. The researchers report that “Despite being a fundamental food feature, the effect of food shapes has been underexplored. This study demonstrates that giving hedonic [pleasure-related] foods a round shape increases their desirability, choice probability, and consumption. However, this effect does not apply to utilitarian foods. Such asymmetric effects are attributed to the positive affect [emotion] elicited by a round shape and not to the food's shape typicality, food knowledge, vividness, or fragility. . . . the effectiveness of giving hedonic foods a round shape is attenuated [weakened] by consumers' health motivations; that is, the effect holds only for those with low health motivation.”

Shoujiang Zhou, Siwen Chen, and Shan Li.  “The Shape Effect:  Round Shapes Increase Consumers’ Preference for Hedonic Goods.”  Psychology and Marketing, in press,

Recycling stations are designed into many spaces, both public and private.  Van Doorn and Kurz have identified interesting repercussions of recycling; designers who are aware of their findings may devise ways to counter the effects noted.  Van Doorn and Kurz found that “when presented with [recycling] options people may come to psychologically frame their waste creation as a contribution to the collective good that makes them feel good about themselves. . . . making people aware of initiatives designed to limit the environmental damage of their consumption can go beyond hampering attempts to reduce waste . . . or increasing the quantity of recyclable products consumed. . . . communicating such initiatives can actually cause people to be more likely to unnecessarily discard products, or to choose a single use product over a re-useable one. . . . respondents are well aware that acting in a less-wasteful way is the more responsible thing to do, but that these perceptions become (erroneously) disrupted when the recycling option offered is advertised as leading to the creation of societally beneficial new products.”

Jenny van Doorn and Kim Kurz.  2021. “The Warm Glow of Recycling Can Make Us More Wasteful.”  Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 77, 101672,

Eichinger, Schreier, and van Osselaer studied how place links influence consumption decisions. They report that “Consumption can provide a feeling of groundedness or being emotionally rooted. This can occur when products connect consumers to their physical (place), social (people), and historic (past) environment. . . . groundedness . . . increases consumer choice, increases happiness, and increases feelings of safety, strength, and stability. . . . marketers can provide consumers with a feeling of groundedness through product designs, distribution channels, and marketing communications. . . . we argue that groundedness is a powerful concept providing a comprehensive explanation for a variety of consumer trends, including the popularity of local, artisanal, and nostalgic products. It seems that in times of digitization, urbanization, and global challenges, the need to feel grounded has become particularly acute.”

Isabel Eichinger, Martin Schreier, and Stijn van Osselaer.  “Connecting to Place, People and Past:  How Products Can Make Us Feel Grounded and Why Marketers Should Care.” Journal of Marketing, in press,

Cummings and colleagues link design with thoughts/behaviors in particular areas.  As they report, they “tested whether a fast-food restaurant affects food expectancies, or the emotions one expects to feel while eating highly processed foods (e.g., pizza) and minimally processed foods (e.g., carrots). Participants . . . entered a simulated fast-food restaurant or a neutral space, completed questionnaires, and engaged in a bogus taste test. The simulated fast-food restaurant increased positive highly processed food expectancies [expectations].”

Jenna Cummings, Lindzey Hoover, Meredith Turner, Kalei Glozier, Jessica Zhao, and Ashley Gearhardt.  “Extending Expectancy Theory to Food Intake:  Effect of a Simulated Fast-Food Restaurant on Highly and Minimally Processed Food Expectancies.”  Clinical Psychological Science, in press,

De Sousa and colleagues studied associations to shapes and colors, finding that consistency among them in packaging elements is important.  They report that “participants expected the coffee associated with the pink label to taste sweeter than the green labeled coffee, whereas the coffee associated with the green label was expected to be more acidic than the pink labeled coffee. . . . consumers’ expectations did not carry over to influence the actual tasting experience. . . .previous literature show[ed] . . . the angular shape increased the expectation of acidity when compared to the round shape. . . . expectations triggered by shape of the design elements of the packaging label did not go on to influence the actual drinking experience. . . . The coffee associated with the angular/green [that is, a label that is angular and green] or the round/pink labels received higher liking and purchase intent ratings than the angular/pink and the round/green ones, respectively.”  The de Sousa lead team notes that previous research (Spence et al., 2015) has shown that pink is linked to sweet tastes and green to sour ones.  Prior studies have also linked sweeter flavors to rounder shapes and those that are bitter or acidic to angular ones.

Maisa de Sousa, Fabiana Carvalho, and Rosemary Pereira.  2020. “Colour and Shape of Design Elements of the Packaging Labels Influence Consumer Expectations and Hedonic Judgments of Specialty Coffee.”  Food Quality and Preference, vol. 83, 103902,

Jeon, Han, and Namstudied how preferences for particular color vary.  They report that “designers and marketers often use a mix of colors whose harmony must be taken into consideration, which includes choosing whether to use colors placed next to each other on the color wheel (analogous combination) or to combine colors that are opposite each other (complementary combination). . . . Individuals with interdependent [with other people] self-construals tend to focus on relational similarity and value harmony, whereas individuals with independent [apart from other people] self-construals tend to view objects as discrete and disconnected. Accordingly, the authors posited that individuals with interdependent self-construals would be more sensitive to the relationship between two colors and perceive analogous colors as more harmonious, thus preferring brands and products featuring analogous colors to those featuring complementary colors. Contrariwise, individuals with independent self-construals would display indifference in this regard. The hypotheses were confirmed in four studies employing various colors to form analogous and complementary color combinations.”

Eunmi Jeon, Youngjee Han, and Myungwoo Nam.  2020. “How You See Yourself Influences Your Color Preference:  Effects of Self-Construal on Evaluations of Color Combinations.”  Psychology and Marketing, vol. 37, no. 7, pp. 980-994,

Rohrer, Keller, and Elwert found that where students sit influences relationships formed with classmates.  They report that they “randomized the seating charts of 182 3rd through 8th grade classrooms (N = 2,966 students) for the duration of one semester. We found that being seated next to each other increased the probability of a mutual friendship from 15% to 22% on average. Furthermore, induced proximity increased the latent propensity toward friendship equally for all students, regardless of students' . . . similarity with respect to educational achievement, gender, and ethnicity. However, the probability of a manifest friendship increased more among similar than among dissimilar students-a pattern mainly driven by gender.” Previous research has linked distances between the spaces where people spend time and likelihood of becoming friends, with closeness increasing the probability of friendships.

Julia Rohrer, Tamas Keller, and Felix Elwert. 2021.  “Proximity Can Induce Diverse Friendships:  A Large Randomized Classroom Experiment.”  PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 8, e0255097, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0255097

Researchers have linked living in greener neighborhoods to better cardiovascular health.  Atiken determined that “People who live in green neighbourhoods are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease. . . . The researchers analysed the odds of developing any new cardiovascular disease, and the number of new cardiovascular conditions, based on block-level greenness. The analyses were adjusted for other factors that could be related to new-onset heart disease: age, sex, race/ethnicity, number of baseline cardiovascular conditions, and neighbourhood characteristics including median household income and walkability. . . . Residents of high greenness blocks throughout the study had a 16% lower odds of developing any new cardiovascular conditions compared to those in low greenness blocks. . . . When compared to residents of low greenness areas throughout the study, those living in areas that increased their greenness from low in 2011 to high in 2016 had 15% lower odds of developing new cardiovascular conditions.”  

“Green Neighbourhoods Linked with Better Heart Health.”  2021. Press release, European Society of Cardiology,

Wang, Yu, and Li evaluated typeface - product preference links.  Their work  “identifies the effect of an important design characteristic of typefaces—curvature on consumers’ preferences toward hedonic [pleasure-related] products. . . .  when consumers are exposed to hedonic products whose advertisements or packaging use round typefaces (high curvature), they show greater preferences toward them.”

Lei Wang, Yining Yu, and Ou Li.  2020. “The Typeface Curvature Effect: The Role of Typeface Curvature in Increasing Preference Toward Hedonic Products.”  Psychology and Marketing, vol. 37, no. 8, pp. 1118-1137,


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