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Many apps require consumers to evaluate products by swiping them to the right or left. This work explores whether product orientation affects the product evaluations communicated by swiping movements, compared with those made by pressing onscreen buttons. Building on stimulus-response compatibility (SRC) theory, which suggests that irrelevant product display features can activate certain behavioral responses when the product display and the behavioral response share a common dimension, this study predicts that the horizontal direction (left to right or right to left) cued by a product’s orientation should facilitate a swipe movement in the congruent direction. Five studies indicate that when people use swiping movements to evaluate objects, their evaluations are influenced by the object’s orientation, whereas evaluations conveyed through button presses reveal no orientation effect. The orientation effect for swiping responses also disappears when the objects contain a direction cue that is incongruent with their orientation, and when only one directional swipe movement is defined as a valid response option. Moreover, the effect holds for subjective evaluations but is eliminated for objective judgments, when these involve no time pressure.
Journal of Consumer Research – Oxford University Press
Published: Oct 1, 2018
Keywords: affordance; product orientation; touchscreen; tablet; mobile device; stimulus–response compatibility
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