Visceral hedonic rhetoric

Wrigley, Cara Jayd (2011) Visceral hedonic rhetoric. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Emotional responses can incite and entice consumers to select a particular product from a row of similar items and thus have a considerable impact on purchase decisions. Consequently, more and more companies are challenging designers to address the emotional impact of their work and to design for emotion and consumerproduct relationships. Furthermore, the creation of emotional attachment to one’s possessions is one way of approaching a sustainable consumer-product relationship. The aim of this research is to gain a deeper understanding of the instantaneous emotional attachment that consumers form with products and its subsequent implications for product development. The foci of the study are visceral design, consumer hedonics and product rhetoric. Studied in a conglomerate they become an area of new investigation: visceral hedonic rhetoric. In this context, the term “visceral hedonic rhetoric” is defined as the properties of a product that persuasively elicit the pursuit of pleasure at an instinctual level of cognition. This study explores visceral hedonic rhetoric evident in the design of interactive products and resides within the context of emotional design research. It employs an empirical approach to understand how consumers respond hedonically on a visceral level to rhetoric in products. Specifically, it examines visceral hedonic responses given by thirty participants to the stimuli of six mobile telephones, six Mp3 players and six USB memory flash drives. The study findings demonstrate a hierarchy of visceral hedonic rhetoric evident in interactive products. This hierarchy of visceral hedonic attributes include: colour, size, shape, intrigue, material, perceived usability, portability, perceived function, novelty, analogy, brand, quality, texture and gender. However, it is the interrelationships between these visceral hedonic attributes that are the most significant findings of this research. Certain associations were revealed between product attribute combinations and consumer perception. The most predominant of these were: gender bias associated with colour selection; the creation of intrigue through a vibrant attention-grabbing colour; perceived ease of use and function; product confidence as a result of brand familiarity and perceived usability; analogous association through familiarity with similar objects and shapes; and the association of longevity with quality, novelty or recent technology. A significant outcome of the research is the distillation of visceral hedonic rhetoric design principles, and a tool to assist designers in harnessing the full potential of visceral hedonic rhetoric. This study contributes to the identification of the emerging research field of visceral hedonic rhetoric. Application of this study’s findings has the potential to provide a hedonic consumer-product relationship that is more meaningful, less disposable and more sustainable. This theory of visceral hedonic rhetoric is not only a significant contribution to design knowledge but is also generally transferable to other research domains, as later suggested in future research avenues.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

579 since deposited on 19 Sep 2011
31 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 46040
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Popovic, Vesna & Chamorro-Koc, Marianella
Keywords: visceral hedonic rhetoric, emotional cognition, visceral design, product design, design and emotion, product rhetoric, consumer hedonics, product aesthetics
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Design
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 19 Sep 2011 01:12
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2017 22:52

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page