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Evaluation of Multi-Functional Products: The Effect of Anthropomorphism on Cognitive Strain

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Title: Evaluation of Multi-Functional Products: The Effect of Anthropomorphism on Cognitive Strain
Author: Steiner, Erik
Department: Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies
Program: Marketing and Consumer Studies
Advisor: Wang, JuanWan, Jing
Abstract: Multi-functional products (MFPs) are potentially valuable innovations, but consumers have trouble understanding them. As a result, consumers often ignore functions possessed by these products. The primary objective of this research is to explore the reasons consumers have trouble understanding MFPs, and to propose product anthropomorphism as a design strategy that can enhance consumer perception of product multi-functionality. A literature review and conceptual framework was developed consisting of consumer learning of MFPs, the single category belief, and anthropomorphism. Then, two experiments test the effect of anthropomorphism on functionality perceptions. The results support the proposal that anthropomorphism increases expectations of product multi-functionality. In addition, data indicates that the effect of anthropomorphism on functionality perceptions is driven by a reduction in the cognitive strain of understanding product functionality. Based on these findings, the theoretical and managerial contributions are discussed, limitations are noted, and avenues for future research are proposed.
Date: 2023-05-10
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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