May 192010

a balance scaleWould 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.

  One Response to “The Psychology of Weight”

  1. Fiftycal,Gosh, I’ve never heard any of that before.#1) I refsue to engage in political discussion with anybody who does that third-grade playground name-calling of “ObamMAO” or “Bushitler” or any of that stuff. Is it too much to ask people to write in plain English? It’s annoying to have to run people’s posts through my Little Orphan Annie Partisan Decoder Rings (one on the Left hand and one on the Right: don’t get them mixed up!) to get any sense out of it.#2) There was a petition being circulated that I should sign if I wanted Santorum on the ballot. I did not sign it, because I do not want Santorum on the ballot, and I will not lie and say I do. There was not a petition circulating asking if I wanted Santorum in Hell, but I would have signed it if there were. I’m glad you have a strong preference ‘tween the two, but were an imaginary Obama and Santorum crossing the street ahead of my, I’d do my best to go for the 7-10 split.

Leave a Reply to Kritika Cancel reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>