2022 Volume 24 Issue 4 Pages 315-322
Consumers generally prefer to touch products before they purchase them. Haptic information and the act of touching itself increase the preference for a product. We hypothesized that object preferences would increase for virtual objects handled virtually without haptic feedback. We tested this hypothesis in a preference judgment experiment using virtual reality technology. The participants kept their hands in front of a screen and touched objects shown on the screen using virtual hands displayed on the screen without haptic feedback. In Experiment 1, the participants compared two apples on the screen by touching one apple using the two virtual hands and the other using a mouse cursor. The results indicated that participants preferred the apples they touched using the virtual hands more than those touched with the cursor. In the second experiment, participants compared images of two apples, one they could handle using their virtual hands and the other inside a transparent ball so they could not touch it. The results showed that participants preferred the apples they could directly touch to those they could not touch. These findings indicate that virtually touching virtual objects affect preferences for the objects even in the absence of haptic feedback.