Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Writing with pictures: toward a unifying theory of consumer response to images

31.08.2007
A new paper by researchers from Oxford University and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign argues that images in contemporary consumer culture are an emergent form of writing.

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!
Further information:
http://www.uchicago.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>