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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

DOI

10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02173

Type

Journal article

Journal

Front Psychol

Publication Date

2017

Volume

8

Keywords

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