Economics at your fingertips  

The "Visual Preference Heuristic": The Influence of Visual versus Verbal Depiction on Assortment Processing, Perceived Variety, and Choice Overload

Claudia Townsend and Barbara E. Kahn

Journal of Consumer Research, 2014, vol. 40, issue 5, 993 - 1015

Abstract: The "visual preference heuristic" suggests that consumers prefer visual to verbal depiction of information in a product assortment. Images produce greater perceptions of variety than text, which is appealing in assortment selection, but can result in choice complexity and overload when choice sets are large and preferences are unknown, suggesting a moderator for Iyengar and Lepper's results. Eye-tracking results reveal that the natural gestalt processing of individual visual stimuli, as compared to the piecemeal processing of individual textual stimuli, affects the processing of the assortment as a whole with visual (compared to verbal) presentation facilitating a faster, though more haphazard, scanning of the assortment. While the less systematic processing that results from visual presentation feels easier, it is not ideal for larger assortments resulting in higher complexity ratings and choice overload than with text depiction. These findings reveal that, like many heuristics, preference for visual depiction may be overapplied.

Date: 2014
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (15) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf) (text/html)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in Journal of Consumer Research from Oxford University Press
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Oxford University Press ().

Page updated 2019-11-07
Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:doi:10.1086/673521