Aim high to get the big picture

Image of Pankaj Aggarwal

The next time you start planning for the futurte you may want to head for higher ground. A new UTSC study reveals that height—or even the perception of height—can affect mental processes and decision-making.

When test subjects believed they were physically higher up—on a tall stool or a top floor—they were more likely to consider a “big picture” approach to a decision, says co-author of the study and UTSC marketing professor Pankaj Aggarwal. It all has to do with a phenomenon known as “mental construal,” which basically means “where one’s head is at” when making a decision.

“It may be more effective for stores located on a higher level of a mall to promote rich features, superior functions or performance of their products,” he says. “It may be more effective for stores on a lower level to promote feasibility aspects such as high convenience or ease of usage for their products.”