This research demonstrates a visual phenomenon with broad implications for consumers: the perceived size of products depends on the saturation of their color. Results from six experiments, employing objects and products with various shapes and hues, show that increasing color saturation increases size perceptions. This influence is explained by the tendency for saturated color to capture attention, which, in turn, is explained by the arousal that saturated color stimulates. This research also demonstrates several downstream outcomes of the effect of saturation on size perceptions: Evaluations are more favorable—and willingness to pay is higher—for products with high (low) saturation when usage goals call for large (small) size. Additionally, participants choose more of a product to fill a container with higher saturation. Further, the saturation of an object’s color affects the perceived size of its surroundings, such that when a product with high (vs. low) saturation is used as a benchmark, the environment is perceived to be comparatively smaller (vs. larger). Implications for aesthetics, design, sensory marketing, and related topics are discussed. Lastly, to aid future color research, an appendix outlines general challenges and recommendations in connection with the conceptualization, manipulation, and measurement of color.

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