Would it surprise you if I told you that we instinctively judge the value of an object based upon its weight? I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself. Imagine a resume printed on thick, heavy-weight paper. You’d likely judge it to be from a better candidate than a resume printed on light paper – even though the paper has nothing whatsoever to do with the value of the information conveyed by the resume.
When judging new cell phones, I often see reviews with comments such as: “has a solid, sturdy feel” while another phone “feels plasticy and cheap.”
There is plenty of evidence – both from everyday experience and in psychological studies – to support the idea that when judging similar objects we value the heavier one above the lighter one.
The implications for that go far beyond just using nice thick paper when job hunting.
One study took two groups of people and gave each group a clipboard with information regarding a proposal. The participants were asked to look over the proposal and then argue in favor of or against the proposal. Sounds like a pretty boring study, right? Here’s the kicker: the second group’s clipboards all had secret compartments filled with a pound of paper. Their clipboards were heavier… so… they judged the information in the clipboard to be of greater value. And this led to a really startling conclusion. The people with weighted clipboards argued much more strongly either for or against the proposal. They thought more deeply about the information and actually put more energy and effort into the whole process. All because their clipboards were heavier!
I love this. Really. This is psychology that is easily applicable on a daily basis.
Not only that, but it is far reaching. Sales presentations: heavier handouts materials. Consumer good have been working on miniaturization and weight reduction – but it’s possible adding weight to products could improve sales (pens, phones, and computer mice are the first things off the top of my head.)
There’s a lot of value in this concept and it’s a really useful piece of consumer and marketing psychology. I hope you’re able to put it good use.