When researchers ask customers to judge product form during the design process, they often manipulate simplified product representations, such as silhouettes and sketches, to gather information on which designs customers prefer. Using simplified forms, as opposed to detailed realistic models, make the analysis of gathered information tractable and also allows the researcher to guide customer focus. The theory of constructed preferences from psychology suggests that the product form presented will influence customer judgments. This paper presents a study in which subjects were shown computer sketches, front/side view silhouettes, simplified renderings, and realistic renderings to test the extent to which a variety of judgments including opinions, objective evaluations, and inferences are affected by form presentation. Results show a variety of phenomena including preference inconsistencies and ordering effects that differed across type of judgment. For example, while inferences were consistent across form, opinions were not. An eye tracker identified differences in viewing strategies while making decisions. Associated data, such as fixation times and fixation counts, provide additional insight into findings.

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