Quantity Distortion Effect in Consumers' Perception of Different Volumes and Weights of Money: A Pilot Study

Percept Mot Skills. 2016 Aug;123(1):175-89. doi: 10.1177/0031512516660717.


Consumers tend to misunderstand the physical value of cash money by adopting improper anchors for their judgments (e.g., banknote size and shape, currency denominations, etc.). In a pilot study carried out on a sample of 242 participants (n = 116 men; M age = 29.6 year, SD = 10.8), a quantity distortion effect was demonstrated by evaluating consumers' misperceptions of different monetary quantities, either in terms of volume or weight, using banknotes of the same denomination (€50). A threshold value was found, for both volume (€876,324) and weight (€371,779), above (below) which consumers tend to overrate (underrate) monetary amounts. The theoretical and operative implications are discussed.

Keywords: monetary quantities; perception of volume and weight; physical value of money; quantity distortion effect.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematical Concepts*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Size Perception / physiology*
  • Weight Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult