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The weight of the saddened soul: the bidrectionality between physical heaviness and sadness and its implications for sensory marketing


Journal of Marketing Management


Organisational Behaviour

Authors / Editors

Hung Y-C;Zheng X;Carlson J;Giurge L M

Publication Year



Heaviness is a bodily metaphor used to express sadness. Building on embodied cognition theory and metaphor theory, we argue that sadness is grounded in bodily sensation of heaviness, which has important sensory marketing implications for engaging consumer senses to affect consumer decision-making and attitude formation processes. We found support for this metaphorical link between heaviness and sadness across six studies. We showed that carrying a heavy bag saddened individuals and increased the valuation of a teddy bear. Intention to donate to a charity supporting endangered tigers increased when burdened participants watched a sad video about these animals. Conversely, sadness induced physical heaviness and increased preference for an easy-to-maintain sofa. Further, sad individuals disliked an advertisement for a sports drink that figured energy-consuming actions. Our findings inform sensory marketing practice about embedding the bodily sensation of heaviness to induce sadness in marketing communication.


Embodied cognition; Heavy; Sadness; Metaphor; Sensory marketing; Customer experience

Available on ECCH


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