Choose Prices With Fewer Syllables

Phonetic size feels like numerical size.

$28.16 has 5 syllables ("twenty-eight sixteen")


Prices seem cheaper with fewer syllables (Coulter, Choi, and Monroe, 2012).

Consider two prices:

  • $27.82: Twenty-seven eighty-two (7 syllables)
  • $28.16: Twenty-eight sixteen (5 syllables)

Intriguingly, $28.16 feels numerically smaller because of the smaller phonetic size. You don’t need to say the price out loud — your brain automatically encodes the phonetic version regardless (Dehaene, 1992).

  • Coulter, K. S., Choi, P., & Monroe, K. B. (2012). Comma N’cents in pricing: The effects of auditory representation encoding on price magnitude perceptions. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22(3), 395-407.
  • Dehaene, S. (1992). Varieties of numerical abilities. Cognition, 44(1-2), 1-42.