University of Twente Student Theses


The influence of functional and symbolic metaphors on product perception

Walpuski, Mike S. (2010) The influence of functional and symbolic metaphors on product perception.

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Abstract:This study is about the perception of abstract product properties like a product’s personality and the possible influence of metaphorical contexts and regulatory focus. In two experiments participants evaluated pictures of products via an online questionnaire in one of three context conditions, featuring a functional metaphor, a symbolic metaphor or a control condition. In the first experiment metaphorical context information with symbolically or functionally related content showed different effects for utilitarian and symbolic products. Functional metaphors enhanced perceived sincerity and competence in symbolic products while symbolic metaphors enhanced sophistication in utilitarian products. In a second experiment the effects of functional and symbolic metaphors on the perception of product personality and product attitude of a neutral product was investigated while controlling for the regulatory focus of participants. The results showed that regulatory focus had no effect on product personality perceptions.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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