Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

That Friendly Car Is Smiling At Me: When Products Are Perceived As People

Date:
November 13, 2007
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
A forthcoming study looks at how consumers anthropomorphize products, endowing a car or a pair of shoes with human characteristics and personalities. The researchers find that people are more likely to attribute human qualities or traits to inanimate objects if the product fits with their expectations of relevant human qualities -- and are also more likely to positively evaluate an anthropomorphized item.

A forthcoming study from the Journal of Consumer Research looks at how consumers anthropomorphize products, endowing a car or a pair of shoes with human characteristics and personalities.

Related Articles


The researchers, from the University of Toronto and the University of Chicago, find that people are more likely to attribute human qualities or traits to inanimate objects if the product fits with their expectations of relevant human qualities -- and are also more likely to positively evaluate an anthropomorphized item.

"We sometimes see cars as loyal companions going so far as to name them. We argue with, cajole, and scold malfunctioning computers and engines," explain Pankaj Aggarwal (University of Toronto) and Ann L. McGill (University of Chicago). "We find that if the product has a feature that is typically associated with a human prototype, then people are more likely to humanize the product, and also evaluate it more positively."

For example, the researchers found that people are more likely to buy into the idea of a "family" of products if all the products are differently sized, with some products representing "parents" and others representing a teenager and a small kid.

Similarly, non-identical products presented as "twins" fared worse in evaluations than identical objects presented as twins. The researchers also found that products with positive traits were better liked than products with rebellious or negative traits. In the study, identical looking objects presented as "good twins" were better liked than the same products presented as "evil twins."

As the researchers explain: "Efforts by marketers to anthropomorphize products may be viewed as shifting the category of evaluation from product to human, and more specifically, to particular human categories such as friends, helpers, families, or spokespeople."

Pankaj Aggarwal and Ann L. McGill, "Is That Car Smiling at Me" Schema Congruity as a Basis for Evaluating Anthropomorphized Products." Journal of Consumer Research: December 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "That Friendly Car Is Smiling At Me: When Products Are Perceived As People." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071112133756.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2007, November 13). That Friendly Car Is Smiling At Me: When Products Are Perceived As People. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071112133756.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "That Friendly Car Is Smiling At Me: When Products Are Perceived As People." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071112133756.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins