Appearing in the October issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, their premise is that mass communications technology has created a “cultural classroom” in which the world’s first democratic pictography has developed. They support this argument with a series of experiments that demonstrate contemporary consumers’ ability to read pictures – even abstract images – as statements of product features.
“The idea that pictures in commercial communication operate as writing is consistent with the world record, no matter how counterintuitive the notion may first seem,” write Linda M. Scott (Oxford University) and Patrick Vargas (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign). “Speaking candidly, we would like to see the treatment of pictures as sensory data atrophy in the literature—the treatment of images as meaningful cultural material has, in our opinion, already shown enough robustness in the rhetorical stream and other studies mentioned above that the older viewpoint is no longer tenable.”
In the experiments, different renditions of the same three image types (a cat, a sunset, and an abstract painting) were consistently read by consumers as texts that communicated a complex set of attributes for a facial tissue. Just by varying the style and context of the objects pictured, the authors were able to selectively communicate particular properties that went beyond resemblance to an object or the sensory effects of formal features.
“We are questioning the tacit assumption made by Mitchell and Olson – and many others that followed – that images affect consumers via emotion or sensation rather than through a coded, conventional system,” the authors write.
Even in the case of the study with abstract paintings, in which participants were asked to read information from lines, shapes, and colors—but no discernible objects—clear messages were conveyed. The authors suggest that these findings have significant implications for studies of cognition, culture, and branding, particularly in a global environment where indigenous writing systems vary widely and the “postindustrial pictography” of the worldwide economy is spreading rapidly.
Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Press release