The “Visual Depiction Effect” in Advertising: Facilitating Embodied Mental Simulation through Product Orientation
This research demonstrates that visual product depictions within advertisements, such as the subtle manipulation of orienting a product toward a participant’s dominant hand, facilitate mental simulation that evokes motor responses. We propose that viewing an object can lead to similar behavioral consequences as interacting with the object since our minds mentally simulate the experience. Four studies show that visually depicting a product that facilitates more (vs. less) embodied mental simulation results in heightened purchase intentions. The studies support our proposed embodied mental simulation account. For instance, occupying the perceptual resources required for embodied mental simulation attenuates the impact of visual product depiction on purchase intentions. For negatively valenced products, facilitation of embodied mental simulation decreases purchase intentions.
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