User Size and Recommendations (10-17-19)

Vallen and colleagues have noted an interesting relationship between consumer physical forms and recommendations made to them; future studies that indicate if their findings can be applied in other contexts will be useful.  The Vallen-lead team found that “This research demonstrates that a consumer's physical appearance—and, more specifically, his or her body size—predictably influences the product(s) that the consumeris recommended. Four studies conducted in both field and lab settings show that agents more frequently recommend round (vs. angular) shaped products to heavier targets, notably for products and categories in which body size is irrelevant (e.g., lamps and perfume). We attribute this to a combination of shape‐congruency and trait‐congruency, whereby individuals choose products for others based on shared dimensions of the person and product.”

Beth Vallen, Karthik Sridhar, Dan Rubin, Veronika Ilyuk, Lauren Block, and Jennifer Argo.  2019. “Shape- and Trait-Congruency: Using Appearance-Based Cues as a Basis for Product Recommendations.”  Journal of Consumer Psychology, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 271-284,