Researchers told consumers the regular and sale prices of a product, asked them to repeat the sale price to themselves, and then, a few minutes later, told them to estimate the size of the discount in percentage terms. Products with “small-sounding” sale prices (like $2.33) seemed like better deals than products with “big-sounding” sales prices (like $2.22).
In another experiment, the researchers used a pair of sale prices — $7.88, which sounds “big” in English, and $7.01, which sounds “small” — but are the other way around in Chinese. Chinese and English speakers had opposite perceptions of the products’ relative value.
The results of a study by Keith Coulter of Clark University and Robin Coulter of the University of Connecticut regarding a long known "symbolic connection between speech and size: back-of-the-mouth vowels like the 'o' in 'two' make people think of large sizes, whereas people associate front-of-the-mouth vowels like 'ee' with diminutiveness". Reported in today's New York Times.