Assessing size and subjective value of objects with diminutive names

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Abstract

Numerous studies show that language (in its grammatical forms or morphology) can influence both perceptual judgments, as well as the mental categorization of objects in memory. Previous research showed that using diminutive names of objects resulted in being less satisfied with owning said objects and lowering their perceived value. In the present studies, to explore this phenomenon, we decided to investigate whether the influence of a diminutive on the reduction in the subjective value of an object is determined by the perceived size of the object, in accordance with the „bigger is better” heuristic. In Study 1 participants estimated a banknote to be smaller when it was presented with a diminutive label “banknocik” (banknote with diminutive) than “banknot” (banknote). However, this was not related to the perceived subjective value of the banknote. In Study 2 participants declared that they could buy less with a coin labeled as “pieniążek” (coin with diminutive) than “pieniądz” (coin), but the effect was not linked to the perceived size of the coins. In Study 3 a candy bar labeled as “batonik” (candy bar with diminutive) was evaluated worse than the same product labeled “baton” (candy bar), however, once again this was not related to the evaluation of its size (weight). Thus, we show that the effect of diminutives on the reduction in the subjective value of an object is independent of the evaluation of the size of the object and we consider other explanations for the occurrence of this phenomenon.

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Polish Psychological Bulletin

The Journal of Committee for Psychological Sciences of Polish Academy of Sciences

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CiteScore 2016: 0.33

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.185
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