Study: Vowel sounds affect consumer buying

Sep 13, 2007

A U.S. study determined product names with vowel sounds that convey positive attributes about the product are deemed more favorable by consumers.

Researchers Tina Lowrey and L.J. Shrum of the University of Texas-San Antonio created fictitious brand names that varied only by one vowel sound -- for example, nillen and nallen. They then varied product categories between small, fast, sharp objects -- such as knives or convertibles -- and products that are large, slow, and dull -- such as hammers and SUVs.

Study participants were asked to choose which word they thought was a better brand name. The researchers found participants overwhelmingly preferred words with front vowel sounds (nillen) when the product category was a convertible or a knife but preferred words with back vowel sounds (nallen) when the product category was an SUV or hammer.

"The implications of phonetic symbolism for brand names are relatively straightforward," said Lowrey and Shrum. "If sounds do convey certain types of meaning, then perceptions of brands may be enhanced when the fit between the sound symbolism and the product attributes is maximized."

The study is detailed in The Journal of Consumer Research.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Do elephants call ''human!''?

Mar 07, 2014

African elephants make a specific alarm call in response to the danger of humans, according to a new study of wild elephants in Kenya.

Violins can mimic human voice

Mar 26, 2013

For many years, some musical experts have wondered if the sound of the Stradivari and Guarneri violins might incorporate such elements of speech as vowels and consonants. A Texas A&M University researcher ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

Dec 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" ...

Recommended for you

Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

Apr 16, 2014

Science has often come to the rescue when it comes to the world's big problems, be it the Green Revolution that helped avoid mass starvation or the small pox vaccine that eradicated the disease. There is ...

Japan stem cell body splashes cash on luxury furniture

Apr 14, 2014

A publicly-funded research institute in Japan, already embattled after accusing one of its own stem cell scientists of faking data, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on designer Italian furniture, reportedly to use up ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...