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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

The effect of complex visual stimuli and conceptual fluency on purchase intentions in the context of luxury fashion brand communication on social media

Published: May 27, 2020


Polly Sokolova , University of Essex; Paurav Shukla, University of Southampton; Maged Ali, The University of Essex


Conceptual Fluency; Visual Complexity; Purchase Intentions


The current research examines the interactive effects of visual complexity and congruency on consumer purchase intentions as well as the mediating role of conceptual fluency in the context of luxury fashion brand communication on social media. The study compared 3 types of visual stimuli: simple, complex congruent and complex incongruent images. The results of two experiments using multiple product categories and differing manipulations of complexity and congruity demonstrate that simple images trigger higher levels of conceptual fluency than complex images. Also, the results illustrate that complex congruent images are more conceptually fluent than complex incongruent images. Finally, the study revealed that the effects of visual complexity on purchase intentions are mediated by conceptual fluency. The current research makes several contributions to the literature on visual complexity, congruity and fluency and offers important recommendations to managers.