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Imitating TV, Web decorating informs taste
Decorating decisions may begin as imitations of magazine, Web or TV ideas but choices become ingrained and help shape tastes, Canadian and U.S. researchers say.
Study co-others Zeynep Arsel of Concordia University in Montreal and Jonathan Bean from Parsons The New School of Design in New York City investigated how the notion of taste can be seen as an integral part of personal identity, in addition to serving as a boundary that sets one apart from the crowd.
Arsel and Bean combed through hundreds of thousands of posts and comments on the Web site Apartment Therapy to uncover how its readers were forming their own notions of personal taste by following a prescriptive view of what constitutes cool when it comes to interior decorating.
“It turns out that reading Apartment Therapy or watching a do-it-yourself home decorating show is way more than just a passive leisure activity,” Arsel said in a statement. “It’s really an element of practice that influences how people relate to objects and what they do with them.”
Arsel and Bean developed a theory that sees taste-making as a tripartite process involving problematization, instrumentalization and ritualization:
– Consumers problematize their own environment by comparing it to the prescriptions on the Web site and acknowledging that things could be improved.
– They rationalize a design choice or purchase through the process of instrumentalization, linking this choice to goals and meanings.
– Finally, imitation becomes ingrained behavior through repetition and ritualization.
The findings were published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International