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EMAC 2022 Annual

The Precise-Unique Intuition: Semantic Precision Signals Product Uniqueness

Published: May 24, 2022


Ann Kronrod, University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Guang-Xin Xie, University of Massachusetts; Harald Brege, Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University


Six experiments in the field and online reveal a novel “precise-unique” heuristic, whereby greater semantic precision increases perceived product uniqueness. We discover that the effect takes place when semantic precision characterizes product descriptions, but also when semantic precision is merely found in language surrounding the product and does not relate to the product itself. This precise-unique effect is mediated by the cognitive category resemblance: more precise words are less typical I their categories and therefore more precise language evokes perceptions of rarity and a-typicality.