Deep Voices And Low Pitches Make Products Seem Larger

Why does that sandwich look so big in the ad? It may not be because of what you see, but because of what you hear. Researchers have discovered a huge association between pitch and perception.

Related: Scientists Make Stale Chips Taste Fresh With An Audio Edit

The Deeper the Voice, the Bigger the Sandwich

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Marketing Research showed how consumers associate a lower pitch—whether it's in a deep voice or in bass-heavy music—with a larger product size. In the study, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Vanderbilt University conducted a series of experiments, including one where participants listened to a radio advertisement for a new sandwich, according to a press release. Researchers altered the pitch of the voice on that advertisement to be higher or lower and then asked participants how large the sandwich was. Those who had heard the lower-pitched voice believed the sandwich was significantly larger than those who heard the higher-pitched voice. Another study showed the same association with music: participants who heard lower-pitched music believed a laptop in an advertisement was larger than those who heard higher-pitched music.

Related: The Stroop Effect Is A Window Into Perception

"There is meaning in sound that transcends language," write the researchers in the study, as BGR reports. "Structural differences in the sound of a spokesperson's voice or a piece of background music can influence a consumer's perception of product attributes."

A New Tool in the Advertisers' Kit

As The Science Times reports, researchers hope that their findings could help advertisers unlock the secrets of sensory marketing. Ad agencies could take a more scientific approach to shaping consumers' perception. Just one more way that the science of selling is taking over the world.

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Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Content About Aural Perception

Can You Trust Your Ears?

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The McGurk effect refers to how visuals can change your perception of the same sound. 00:40

  2. Your location and language can play a role in determining the kinds of tones you hear. 01:46

  3. The Shepard Tone Illusion makes it seem like a series of rising pitches continues to rise higher and higher when replayed. 02:40

4 Weird Audio Illusions

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The speech-to-song illusion refers to when a repeated phrase begins to sound like a song. 00:34

  2. Your response to the tritone paradox may be based on where you're from and the speech patterns of your childhood. 02:23

  3. The phoneme restoration effect makes your brain think it heard a complete word or sound, when in fact parts were missing. 04:35

Try The McGurk Effect

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The McGurk Effect tricks your brain into hearing different sounds based on how someone's lips are moving. 01:07

  2. The McGurk Effect works whether or not you are aware of how it works. 02:03

Written by Stephanie Bucklin May 2, 2017

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