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Two experiments were conducted in a virtual reality (VR) environment in order to investigate participants' in-store visual search for bottles of wines displaying a prominent triangular shape on their label. The experimental task involved virtually moving along a wine aisle in a virtual supermarket while searching for the wine bottle on the shelf that had a different triangle on its label from the other bottles. The results of Experiment 1 revealed that the participants identified the bottle with a downward-pointing triangle on its label more rapidly than when looking for an upward-pointing triangle on the label instead. This finding replicates the downward-pointing triangle superiority (DPTS) effect, though the magnitude of this effect was more pronounced in the first as compared to the second half of the experiment, suggesting a modulating role of practice. The results of Experiment 2 revealed that the DPTS effect was also modulated by the location of the target on the shelf. Interestingly, however, the results of a follow-up survey demonstrate that the orientation of the triangle did not influence the participants' evaluation of the wine bottles. Taken together, these findings reveal how in-store the attention of consumers might be influenced by the design elements in product packaging. These results therefore suggest that shopping in a virtual supermarket might offer a practical means of assessing the shelf standout of product packaging, which has important implications for food marketing.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Psychol

Publication Date





DPTS effect, triangle, virtual reality, visual search, wine labels