Haptics, Consumers, and the Need for Touch-Maranda Gwin

This peer reviewed article did a study on the consumer and if a product purchased was in connection with the need to touch the item before it was bought, and what other factors played into why the consumer used haptics before they chose to buy a product. The study was based on different hypotheses including Convergent Validity, Discriminant Validity, and Nomological Validity.
The first hypothesis or “the desire or need for tactile input to make brand/product evaluations,” explains that the consumer uses a tactile approach in order to evaluate the quality of a product. Though people don’t always buy a product they admire, I do believe that inspecting a product before it is purchased is an important factor when decided whether or not to buy it. For example, if I were out shopping for a car(big ticket item I know), I would have to do more than just use my visual senses to determine if that was the car for me. I would need to evaluate it further by actually getting in the car. The first appeal to my senses would be the new car smell that excites the sense of smell because the person starts to acclimate to the car and begins to picture if that car might be coming home with them or not. Second, the consumer looks around at all the features that are offered with the car. Not just with their eyes, but with touch; Running their fingers over the soft material, touching all the knobs, feeling the comfort or discomfort of the seat. Upon test driving it the customer already knows how much interest they have in the product. Ultimately, who wants to buy something sight unseen only to regret the purchase later?
Another hypothesis in the article is Discriminant Validity, or the desire to understand something on a cognitive level, such as a newspaper. A person has to pick the newspaper up in order to be able to get the most out of what is being read. The instrumental dimension is contrasted with the autotelic touch as the hypothesis concludes that autotelic and instrumental are not associated due to difference in decision making reasons. However, in the textbook, it states that nonverbal communication codes are often defined by the sense or senses they stimulate. Therefore, one might pick something up for instrumental orientation, to understand an object, but ultimately uses all of the senses combined to get the full connection and understanding.
Finally, Nomological Validity shopping via catalog/mail, via telephone, and internet. This, in fact, doesn’t have any relation to autotelic touch, but more of an instrumental (salient) purchase which means need verses shopping for fun. I am not convinced of that for a number of reasons. First, many products available online or in catalogs are either not offered at that price in stores or not offered in stores at all. Another reason a consumer might shop via internet or catalog is to avoid the crowds of people. Some people have a low tolerance for proximities and would rather avoid the experience in public all together. Lastly, why pound the pavement when you can browse endlessly online at stores inaccessible locally, less gas/wear and tear on the car are an added bonus.

Cited Works

Vieira, V. A. (2012). An evaluation of the need for touch scale and its relationship with need for cognition, need for input, and consumer response . Journal of International consumer Marketing, 24(Issue 1/2), p57-78, 22p. Retrieved October 7, 2013, from the Communication & Mass Media Complete, Business Source Complete database.



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