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Guest Speaker: Spatial Position Affects Quantity Judgments And Product Preference - Dr Yonatan Vanunu, University of Chicago

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Location: H0.44 - Humanities Building

Speaker: Dr Yonatan Vanunu, University of Chicago

Title: Spatial Position Affects Quantity Judgments And Product Preference

Host: Mikhail Spektor, Manos Konstantinidis


Consumers often encounter products featuring diverse components, such as bags of flavored popcorn or flower bouquets. How do they judge the quantity of each component to form overall preferences? In eleven pre-registered studies, we demonstrate that spatial positioning significantly shapes quantity judgments. Our findings reveal a proximity-to-center bias: In products featuring mixed items, consumers tend to perceive a given type of item as more numerous when it appears closer to the center of the display. This bias in consumers’ impressions of relative quantity influenced both hypothetical and real choices. Consumers preferred products where the packaging strategically positioned more of the type of item that they liked most, such as a specific popcorn flavor, closer to the center. Remarkably, this preference persisted even when the actual quantity of their favored type was lower. We show that these biases are rooted in selective attention, specifically to the center of the product display, because this region provides richer information and thus helps the viewer distinguish between an assortment of mixed objects. Our findings highlight the intricate relationship between spatial positioning, quantity judgments, and consumer decision-making, offering valuable insights for product design and display strategies.

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