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The Floor Is Nearer than the Sky: How Looking Up or Down Affects Construal Level

Anneleen Van Kerckhove, Maggie Geuens and Iris Vermeir

Journal of Consumer Research, 2015, vol. 41, issue 6, 1358 - 1371

Abstract: This research shows that consumers select a different product when they look down versus up. Because (1) people are accustomed to looking down to process nearby stimuli and to looking up to process distant stimuli, and because (2) perceived distance is linked to concrete versus abstract processing, the association between moving one's eyes or head down or up and concrete versus abstract processing has become overly generalized. A series of three experiments highlights that downward (upward) head and eye movements evoke more concrete (abstract) processing because downward (upward) head or eye movements have come to serve as a proximity (distance) cue. Two additional experiments indicate downstream behavioral consequences of moving one's eyes or head down versus up. Consumers choose more for feasible versus desirable products when looking down and vice versa when looking up. They also tend to be more preference-consistent when looking down versus up.

Date: 2015
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