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An immersive virtual discrete choice experiment for elicitation of product aesthetics using Gestalt principles

  • Ambrosio Valencia-Romero (a1) and José E. Lugo (a1)

This research presents a pilot study that explores the use of quantified Gestalt principles of symmetry, parallelism, and continuity as design variables to evaluate the aesthetics of three-dimensional product representations. To this end, a virtual reality (VR)-based discrete choice experiment was conducted to elicit subjects’ preferences among pairs of bottle forms with diverse Gestalt values. While immersed in the VR environment, 42 participants were able to visually explore the whole forms, thus capturing more information to develop their judgment. Further analysis of the choice data using standard and mixed logit regression with hierarchical Bayes estimation provides initial details on the aesthetic utility of the Gestalt principles in question, their distribution among the sample participants, and the correlation between estimates. Due to the small sample size, the results are not expansible and they only apply to the data set gathered during the experiment. Nevertheless, it is an initial proof of concept which could suggest that symmetry and continuity have a positive aesthetic effect over people, and that parallelism could have opposite aesthetic utilities for women and men. This methodology allows designers to delve into the integration of aesthetics as a quantifiable property in the product development process.

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