Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bringing style home

14.08.2012
Concordia researcher investigates how tastes are shaped online
Does the ideal ratio of couch to rug size keep you up at night? Are the exposed wires of your stereo causing you angst? Is that crocheted toilet paper cover kitschy enough to be cool? If you wonder, then you are not alone.

For Concordia University’s Zeynep Arsel, such questions have led to exciting new research into buyer behaviour. The assistant professor of marketing at the John Molson School of Business teamed up with Jonathan Bean from Parsons The New School of Design in New York City to co-author a recent article in the Journal of Consumer Research. Together, they investigated how the notion of taste can be seen as an integral part of personal identity in addition to serving as a boundary that sets one apart from the crowd.

The researchers turned to a surprising source for their findings: Apartment Therapy, a popular website with a fresh take on present-day interior decorating that has had more hits than Martha Stewart’s online empire. Arsel and Bean painstakingly combed through hundreds of thousands of posts and comments on the website to uncover how its readers were forming their own notions of personal taste by following a prescriptive view of what constitutes cool when it comes to interior decorating.

“It turns out that reading Apartment Therapy or watching a do-it-yourself home decorating show is way more than just a passive leisure activity,” explains Arsel. “It’s really an element of practice that influences how people relate to objects and what they do with them.”

While our choices in interior decorating may begin as a simple imitation of what we see online or on TV, those decisions eventually become ingrained.

Arsel herself was not immune to this pattern of consumer behaviour. She first came to the Apartment Therapy website out of personal curiosity rather than academic interest. “I was just getting my first apartment as a new PhD,” she recalls. “It was a lower duplex that was totally typical of Montreal and I wanted some decorating ideas to help me liven up the dark space.”

Through personal experience and in-depth research, Arsel and Bean developed a new theory that sees taste-making as a tripartite process that involves problematization, instrumentalization and ritualization.

First, the consumer problematizes his or her own environment by comparing it to the prescriptions on the web site and acknowledging that things could be improved. Then, they rationalize a design choice or purchase through the process of instrumentalization or, in other words, linking this choice to goals and meanings. Finally, imitation becomes ingrained behaviour through repetition and ritualization.

“We start by looking at these decorating sites and emulating what we see. But through repeated exposure, we develop our own standards for what can in fact become personal taste,” says Arsel.

Partners in research: Funding for this research project was provided by the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture.

Related links:
Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business
Journal of Consumer Research
Zeynep Arsel’s website

Source:
Fiona Downey
Media Relations Advisor
Concordia University Media Relations
Phone: 514-848-2424, ext. 2518
Cell: 514-518-3336
Fax: 514-848-3383
Email: fdowney@alcor.concordia.ca
Web: concordia.ca/now/media-relations
Twitter: twitter.com/fiodow

Fiona Downey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.concordia.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>