Gruen transfer

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For the Australian television program, see The Gruen Transfer.

In shopping mall design, the Gruen transfer (also known as the Gruen effect) is the moment when consumers enter a shopping mall and, surrounded by an intentionally confusing layout, lose track of their original intentions, making consumers more susceptible to make impulse buys. It is named for Austrian architect Victor Gruen, who disavowed such manipulative techniques.[1][2]


The Gruen transfer is a psychological phenomenon in which an idealized hyper reality is realized by deliberate reconstruction, providing a sense of safety and calm through exceptional familiarity.[1][2][3]

References in other media[edit]

A television program on Australia's ABC1 network, called The Gruen Transfer, is named after the effect. The programme discusses the methods, science and psychology behind advertising. Their website has a FAQ page[4]


1952- Dayton company commissioned Victor Gruen to build the first indoor, climate controlled shopping mall, Southdale Center,[5] in Edina Minnesota.[6]

1956- Southdale Center Grand opening.[6]

1960s onwards- Shopping malls became very popular as they were in many cases the only air-conditioned place in town. Many more shopping malls started opening using similar designs and were very popular until the 1990s.[2][6]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c Hardwick, M. Jeffrey (2015-08-18). Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 9780812292992. 
  3. ^ Miles, Malcolm; Hall, Tim; Borden, Iain (2004-01-01). The City Cultures Reader. Psychology Press. ISBN 9780415302456. 
  4. ^ "ABC TV - The Gruen Transfer - FAQ". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2010-07-03. 
  5. ^ Retailing, Southdale shopping Center was also the first indoor shopping mall. The Economist, December 19, 2007, June 12, 2009.
  6. ^ a b c "Southdale Center | MNopedia". Retrieved 2016-05-17.