The Effects of Phonetic Symbolism on Comparative Price Perceptions

Keith Coulter, Clark University, USA
Psycholinguistics is a research area that is focused upon the development, production, comprehension, and usage of language. Linguistic features may influence the memorability and perception of words through their ability to convey meaningfulness (Eysenck 1979). One attribute that has been shown to have an impact on the meaningfulness of a word is phonetic (or “sound”) symbolism, which refers to the ability of particular phonemes (i.e., the fundamental building blocks of sound in a language) to convey information. In the context of three experiments, we demonstrate that perceptions of numerical magnitude related to price discount, value, and purchase intentions may be non-consciously impacted by the phonemes (i.e., vowel and consonant sounds) associated with price verbalization. The effect occurs because prices are automatically and non-consciously represented and encoded in memory in multiple formats (i.e., visual, auditory, and analog).
[ to cite ]:
Keith Coulter (2009) ,"The Effects of Phonetic Symbolism on Comparative Price Perceptions", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 986-987.