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Language and Consumer Memory: The Impact of Linguistic Differences between Chinese and English


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  • Schmitt, Bernd H
  • Pan, Yigang
  • Tavassoli, Nader T
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    Languages of the Asia-Pacific region, such as Chinese, are based on ideographic writing systems which are radically different from the alphabetic systems used in Western languages, such as English. We propose that structural differences between Chinese and English affect mental representations which, in turn, influence consumer memory of verbal information. Specifically, unaided brand recall should be differentially affected in Chinese and English when it is spoken compared with when it is written. Furthermore, recognition should be differentially affected in Chinese and English when brand names are learned auditorily compared with when they are learned visually. Results of a cross-cultural experiment conducted in China and in the United States confirm predictions for unaided brand recall and partially confirm predictions for recognition. Copyright 1994 by the University of Chicago.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 21 (1994)
    Issue (Month): 3 (December)
    Pages: 419-31

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:21:y:1994:i:3:p:419-31

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    Cited by:
    1. Kum, Doreen & Lee, Yih Hwai & Qiu, Cheng, 2011. "Testing to prevent bad translation: Brand name conversions in Chinese-English contexts," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(6), pages 594-600, June.
    2. Bathaee, Atieh, 2011. "Culture affects consumer behavior: Theoretical reflections and an illustrative example with Germany and Iran," Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Diskussionspapiere 02/2011, Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald, Faculty of Law and Economics.
    3. Volkan Dogan & Behçet Yalýn Özkar, 2013. "Investigation of Brand Name-Country of Origin Preference in Four Different Product Groups with Respect to Conspicuous Consumption Tendency," International Review of Management and Marketing, Econjournals, vol. 3(4), pages 190 - 203.
    4. Ignacio Redondo Bellón, 2000. "La segmentación idiomática en los mercados periodísticos de Baleares, Cataluña, Galicia, País Vasco y Valencia," Revista de Estudios Regionales, Universidades Públicas de Andalucía, vol. 3, pages 161-184.
    5. Cowley, Elizabeth, 2002. "East-West consumer confidence and accuracy in memory for product information," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 55(11), pages 915-921, November.


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