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. It is named for Austrian architect Victor Gruen, who disavowed such manipulative techniques.[1]


The Gruen transfer is the moment when consumers respond to "scripted disorientation" cues in the environment. Spatial awareness of their surroundings plays a key role, as does the surrounding sound, art, and music. The effect of the transfer is marked by a slower walking pace.[2][3]

References in other media[edit]

A television program on Australia's ABC1 network, called The Gruen Transfer, discusses the methods, science and psychology behind advertising. Their website has a FAQ page[4] which gives the following definition: "Named for Victor Gruen, who designed the very first shopping mall. The term describes that split second when the mall's intentionally confusing layout makes our eyes glaze and our jaws slacken..... the moment when we forget what we came for and become impulse buyers."


  1. ^
  2. ^ Crawford M., (1992), The World in a Shopping Mall, in Sorkin M., (ed.), Variations on a Theme Park: the new American City and the end of Public Space, Hill & Wang, New York, (1992) and M. Jeffrey Hardwick, Mall Maker: Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream, University of Pennsylvania, 2003
  3. ^ The city cultures reader. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 
  4. ^ "ABC TV - The Gruen Transfer - FAQ". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2010-07-03.