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An investigation of the role of tactile input in product evaluations

Опубликовано на портале: 25-12-2003
Подтип: PhD
Тематические разделы: Менеджмент, Маркетинг

This dissertation examines the effect of tactile input on consumers' pre-purchase product evaluations. In a preliminary experimental study, 6 products were evaluated by subjects randomly assigned to a touch condition, in which tactile input from physically present products was available, or an internet condition, in which subjects evaluated the products presented online. The second experiment involved an evaluation of 3 products by subjects randomly assigned to either a touch or internet condition, or a no touch condition, where tactile input for a physically present product was not available. In both experiments, product evaluations were significantly more favorable in the touch condition than in the internet condition, with the no touch condition resulting in less favorable evaluations than the touch condition, but more positive evaluations than the internet condition. A third experiment examined a number of individual difference variables as moderators of the effect of tactile input on product evaluations. It was hypothesized that the effect of tactile input on product evaluations is stronger for individuals scoring high in need for tactile input, desire for control, and arousal seeking tendency, than for individuals with a lower score on these variables. Contrary to expectations, tactile input did not interact with any of these individual difference variables. A fourth experiment tested competing theoretical explanations for the observed effects of tactile input on product evaluation. According to the ownership literature, tactile input (as an ownership cue) may evoke the mere ownership effect, i.e., more positive product evaluation in response to perceived ownership. The literature on haptic perception of object properties, on the other hand, suggests that tactile input would result in more favorable product evaluations only when tactile input is diagnostic, and product quality is relatively high. These competing predictions were tested in a 2 (treatment condition: touch, no touch) x 2 (product quality level: low, high) experimental design, replicated across three products. Results confirm an information processing explanation based on the literature on haptic perception of object properties in that tactile input results in more favorable product evaluations when product quality is high, but significantly less favorable evaluations when quality is low.