The Influence of Product Anthropomorphism on Comparative Judgment

Feifei Huang, Vincent Chi Wong, Echo Wen Wan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The present research proposes a new perspective to investigate the effect of product anthropomorphism on consumers' comparative judgment strategy in comparing two anthropomorphized (vs. two nonanthropomorphized) product options in a consideration set. Six experiments show that anthropomorphism increases consumers' use of an absolute judgment strategy (vs. a dimension-by-dimension strategy) in comparative judgment, leading to increased preference for the option with a more favorable overall evaluation over the option with a greater number of superior dimensions. The effect is mediated by consumers' perception of each anthropomorphized product alternative as an integrated entity rather than a bundle of separate attributes. The authors find the effect to be robust by directly tracing the process of participants' information processing using MouseLab software and eye-tracking techniques, and by self-reported preferences and real consumption choices. Moreover, the effect is moderated by the motivation to seek maximized accuracy or ease. These studies have important implications for theories about anthropomorphism and comparative judgment as well as marketing practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-955
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • absolute strategy
  • anthropomorphism
  • comparative judgment
  • dimension-by-dimension strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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