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Informational Influence and the Ambiguity of Product Experience: Order Effects on the Weighting of Evidence

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Abstract

This article examines how others’ opinions can influence a consumer's evaluation of a product. This influence is said to be informational when the consumer accepts it as evidence of the product's true nature. An anchoring and adjustment process is proposed to explain how information from others is combined with direct experience when consumers form a global evaluation of a product. Two experiments are conducted to test this explanation. Findings from the two experiments suggest that when others offer their opinions about the quality of a product, the opinions have the most potential to influence a consumer who has tried the product when the opinions are considered before the consumer considers the evaluative implications of his or her own product experience. Findings from a third experiment suggest that others’ opinions about product quality have limited potential to influence a consumer who has had an unambiguous experience with the product, even when conditions are most favorable for an influence to occur. The 3 experiments suggest that informational social influence obeys information processing principles associated with other kinds of private judgments.
... Briefly, interpersonal influence refers to the level of being influenced by others, especially from the reference group (Bearden & Etzel, 1982). If someone is presenting their opinions on the quality of a product, these opinions will affect consumers when creating a product evaluation (Wooten & Reed, 1998;Lertwannawit & Mandhachitara, 2012). ...
... The related literature focuses on the relations between interpersonal influence and reference group (Wooten & Reed, 1998), peer effect (Bachmann et al., 1993;Shi & Xie, 2013), status consumption (Nabi et al., 2017), conspicuous consumption (O'Cass, 2004Santini et al., 2017), culture (D'Rozario, 2001;Gupta, 2011;Huang et al., 2012;Millan et al., 2013), and communication and word of mouth (Bone, 1995;Chen et al., 2016;Tkaczyk, 2015). ...
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This study aims to propose and test a framework for status consumption in the context of perceived symbolic status. This paper fills the gap in the literature by proposing an integrated model focusing on the drivers and consequences of status consumption, conspicuous consumption, and symbolic status. We conducted an online survey among 990 people, and we tested the structural path relationships using AMOS. The results show that, first, status consumption and conspicuous consumption relate to perceived symbolic status. Second, the product symbolic status of the self relates to the product symbolic status of others. Third, the average product symbolic status of the self is higher than the average of the product symbolic status of others. Finally, when consumers are susceptible to normative interpersonal influences, they are more susceptible to status consumption and conspicuous consumption. Thus, consumers have a higher tendency to attribute the symbolic status of self to product and brand use than others. The implications of these findings are expected to make a contribution to the literature and lead to a better understanding of brand differentiation, positioning, and advertising decisions.
... Саме невизначеність є головним фактором, який стимулює використання соціальних доказів. Дослідження демонструють, що оцінюючи товар, споживачі частіше враховують думки інших, коли їх власний досвід з товаром є неоднозначним, залишаючи невизначеність щодо правильного висновку, який вони повинні зробити [2]. Підтвердження цієї думки є також у працях Р. Сіалдіні, який розумів його як соціальне явище через яке відбувається копіювання дій інших людей [9]. ...
... The findings reveal that informational influence confirmed a positive relationship with EVA. Thereby it supports the results of Wooten and Reed II (1998) and Burnkrant and Cousineau (1975). This states that when individuals pursue new products (EVs) they extensively search information from several sources. ...
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This study intends to explore the acceptance of electric vehicles by adopting social comparison theory and Technology Acceptance Model. To fulfill the objectives of the study, 400 data were collected from a four-day auto expo event in India, and Structural Equation Modelling approach was used to analyze the data. The results show that informational influence, value-expressive influence, and product innovativeness showed a significant relationship with electric vehicle acceptance. Perceived usefulness signified a mediation effect on the relationships of informational influence, value-expressive influence, and product innovativeness with the electric vehicle acceptance. Further, positive moderation effect of age, income and gender was identified on the paths between perceived usefulness and electric vehicle acceptance. Holistically, the study produces significant contributions to the factors used in the study and the electric vehicle sector at large.
... For example, individuals may resolve ambiguity around reporting poisoning by deferring to the opinions of their peers, without updating their perceived norms (i.e. informational influence, Wooten & Reed II, 1998). Alternatively, there may be important but unobserved variables, such as personality traits, which tend to be similar for socially close individuals and which are challenging to discount in observational studies (Shalizi & Thomas, 2011). ...
Thesis
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Interventions to conserve biodiversity often aim to change human behaviour. Social relations and interactions, or social networks, have a strong influence on the information people receive and on their behaviour. Thus, the interactions between social networks and behaviour have been the subject of intense research effort in countless domains, and practitioners in fields such as public health have developed a range of strategies which account for relational processes in their interventions. This thesis seeks to integrate these insights into conservation and explore their practical implications. I begin by synthesising the literature and discussing the relevance of social network interventions for conservation. The remainder of the thesis examines the role of social networks in a case study intervention aiming to reduce wildlife poisoning in Northern Cambodia. I first use a mixed-method approach to better understand wildlife poisoning. I find that it is widespread, occurring in eight of the ten villages studied, but generally low prevalence, and often carried out by young men or children. However, most residents hold negative attitudes towards poisoning. With the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Cambodia, I develop and pilot a social marketing intervention to promote the use of a hotline for reporting incidences of poisoning. I then use longitudinal data on behaviour and dynamic social network models to unpick the role of information flow and social influence in this intervention. I find that information from the intervention flowed widely through the village social networks, particularly within households, reaching an audience three-times larger than originally targeted. Having a knowledgeable household member doubled the probability that an individual would become knowledgeable. I also find that intention to report poisoning increases throughout the village in the short-term but returns to baseline levels in the long term. These changes are not driven by knowledge of the intervention. Instead, individuals are influenced by the intentions of network peers. One way to more effectively produce behavioural change that exploits these social influences is to target interventions at influential individuals identified using sociometric data. Using diffusion simulations, I explore the cost-effectiveness of these approaches within the study village. I find that network-informed targeting could result in uptake of the hotline more than double other targeting strategies, but that the relatively high cost of collecting network data makes it cost-ineffective. A more feasible strategy for large-scale interventions might be to conduct network research to identify general rules-of-thumb that can be used to select influential individuals. However, I find that rules-of-thumb identified in other contexts do not apply in Cambodia. Overall, my findings highlight the critical importance of social relations in shaping the outcomes of conservation interventions and illustrate some possible strategies for exploiting them in intervention.
... People's tendency to conform to a perceived norm has been found to be particularly strong under conditions of uncertainty, particularly when they are unfamiliar with the subject matter, as conformity is less likely to happen to the determined minds (Wooten & Reed, 1998). Thus, it is further hypothesized that: ...
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Chapter
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The chapter discusses the role of the manner of attitude formation. It focuses on the development of an attitude through direct behavioral experience with the attitude object and examines whether such attitudes better predict subsequent behavior than attitudes formed without behavioral experience. The chapter provides an overview of the attitude-behavior consistency problem and describes the effect of the manner of attitude formation through the “housing” study, the “puzzle” experiment, and the “subject pool” study. The prior-to-later behavior relation is also discussed in the chapter, wherein it has described the self-perception of past religious behaviors, attitudes and self-reports of subsequent behavior, an individual difference perspective, and a partial correlation analysis. The chapter discusses attitudinal qualities—namely, confidence and clarity, the persistence of the attitude, and resistance to attack. The reasons for the differential strength are also explored in the chapter—namely, the amount of information available, information processing, and attitude accessibility. The chapter briefly describes the attitude-behavior relationship, personality traits, and behavior.
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