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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

A Window to the Brand’s Soul: How Models’ Eyes Affect Consumers’ Attitudes

Published: May 28, 2019


Maria Giulia Trupia, IESE Business School; Martina Cossu, Bocconi University; Zachary Estes, University of Bocconi


pupil size; attractiveness; attitudes


Pupil dilation can signal efforts, arousal and social interests to observers, who use these cues to guide their behaviors. Can a subtle signal such as pupil size influence consumers’ judgements? The present research examines whether a model’s pupil dilation affects consumers’ ad evaluations. Four studies reveal that models with constricted (versus dilated) pupils improve consumers’ attitude toward the ad. We show that constricted pupils enhance the model’s perceived physical attractiveness and, consequently, induce consumers to like the advertisement more. We also demonstrate that, although consumers automatically mimic the model’s observed pupils (pupil mimicry), there are no effects on their final evaluations. Our results suggest that pupil size is a physiological cue that can affect consumers’ perceptions and behaviors by influencing a model’s perceived attractiveness.