Judging a book by its cover: Prior knowledge determines the effect of embodied cues.

Practically, this research suggests that the influence of experiential cues on everyday decisions is not a given, and rather depends on the correct circumstances to occur. This is an important caveat for marketing, public policy and other disciplines that use psychological research to guide real-world decisions. Manipulations of physical sensations are unlikely to matter for products unless they are provided in conjunction with relevant information about the product itself. Additionally, heavier products may be evaluated more favorably when they are in a product category that is complex, or highly uncertain (e.g., wine; Piqueras-Fiszman & Spence, 2012), but not in product categories that lend themselves to unambiguous judgments of quality (e.g., flash drives).  More generally, this finding serves as a reminder that human decision making is the product of many complex features, rather than knee-jerk responses to stimuli in the environment and that it may be overly optimistic to assume that beliefs and opinions can be consistently and uniformly influenced through changes to a single variable.


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