The shape of the pill: perceived effects, evoked bodily sensations and emotions
Blazhenkova, Olesya and Döğerlioğlu Demir, Kıvılcım (2020) The shape of the pill: perceived effects, evoked bodily sensations and emotions. PLoS One, 15 (9). ISSN 1932-6203 (Print) 1932-6203 (Online)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0238378
Current research examined the differential effects of pills’ shape (angular vs. curvy) on the perceived efficacy of the medicine, evoked bodily sensations and emotions. We investigated these effects by using different types of angular vs. curved stimuli: abstract drawn shapes (Study 1), 3D-printed mockup pills (Study 2) and photographs of the existing pills (Study 3). Participants were asked to imagine ‘taking’ angular and curved pills. They had to focus on the bodily sensations and report the evoked activations/deactivations in different body parts. Across three studies, we found that the angular pills evoke overall more activations in the body compared to curvy pills. We further reported differences in the topography of angular vs. curved pills’-triggered sensations in different body parts. Our results also revealed that angularity is linked with an energizing effect while roundness is associated with a calming effect. The shape effects were demonstrated not only in self-reported energized vs. calm subjective feelings but also in performance on a timed cognitive test. Compared to incongruent designs, pill designs (angular vs. curved) congruent with proposed drug benefits (energizing vs. calming) were perceived as more effective. Moreover, we found differences in emotions triggered by pills of different shapes. The present research provided new findings on angularity vs. curvature perception that may be valuable for cognitive psychology, marketing, pharmaceutical and supplements industry, and other applied fields.
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