Publication details [#1024]

Chae, Boyoun (Grace), Xiuping Li and Rui (Juliet) Zhu. 2013. Judging Product Effectiveness from Perceived Spatial Proximity. Journal of Consumer Research 40 (2) : 317–335. 19 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press


The article investigates the relationship between the spatial promixity of visual images of cause and effect and consumers' judgements of a product's effectiveness. On the basis of the results from five studies, the authors argue that consumers tend to judge a product as more effective when the distance between the image of a potential cause (e.g. acne treatment) and that of a potential effect (e.g. smooth skin) is smaller. Such intuitive reasoning is based on the CLOSENESS IS STRENGTH OF EFFECT metaphor, which is, in turn, motivated by the frequent association between the two concepts within mechanical causal processes. The effect is weakened when consumers are more informed about a product's domain, when they are primed with non-mechanical causal processes, or when they expect the effect to take place with a delay.