Consumers from cultures that read from left to right possess a spatial representation of time whereby the past is visualized on the left and the future is visualized on the right. Across four studies, the current research investigates whether and how this past-left, future-right conceptualization of time affects attitudes toward time-related products. Specifically, when consumers view advertisements in which product images are positioned congruently (incongruently) with their spatial representation of time, they have more (less) favorable attitudes toward the product. This effect occurs for both products that naturally involve the progression of time (e.g., self-improvement products) and also products for which a time component is a desired attribute (e.g., antiques). The effect of horizontal position reverses among consumers who read from right to left. The mediating role of processing fluency is highlighted as an underlying mechanism, and the moderating role of need for structure is identified.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Economics and Econometrics