Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Threats To Hope: Desperation Affects Reasoning About Product Information

Date:
July 15, 2007
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
When our hopes are threatened, we often turn to the marketplace for help. Can't fit into the gorgeous outfit you bought for your high school reunion? Trying to get pregnant? Want a bigger house but afraid you can't afford it? A new study argues that in situations like these, consumers are susceptible to "motivated reasoning." We believe what we want to believe about products that promise to help --- even if the arguments don't come from credible sources.

When our hopes are threatened, we often turn to the marketplace for help. Can't fit into the gorgeous outfit you bought for your high school reunion" Trying to get pregnant" Want a bigger house but afraid you can't afford it" A new study by researchers from University of Southern California argues that in situations like these, consumers are susceptible to "motivated reasoning." We believe what we want to believe about products that promise to help -- even if the arguments don't come from credible sources.

Hope is threatened when people lose confidence that what they yearn for is possible, and this loss may result in a range of seemingly irrational behavior. Specifically, consumers interested in products that purport to enable goal-attainment will:

- Search for information from product-favorable information sources (including advertisements) - Regard favorable information as more credible - Be less discriminating about low-credibility message arguments - Be more likely to judge the product as effective

In the August issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, USC researchers Deborah J. MacInnis (Professor of Business Administration and Vice Dean of Research), David W. Stewart (Professor of Marketing and Chair, Dept. of Marketing), and their late colleague Gustavo De Mello outline three studies that demonstrate these phenomena.

For example, the first experiment asked ninety-nine undergraduates in the midst of mid-term exams to participate in a purportedly unrelated study conducted by the Office of Student Affairs, asking students to report on a variety of things, including how confident they felt about getting good grades.

The students were then asked to participate in an "unrelated" study that asked them to evaluate a new product -- a memory booster. They were given background information from a manufacturer's brochure (a favorable source) or from a newspaper article (an objective source), which they could access by clicking on a computer screen.

While both confident students and insecure students accessed the same number of pieces of information before making a judgment on the product, insecure students searched for more information from the favorable source than confident students and ended up rating the memory booster as more effective.

Similarly, the researchers found in subsequent experiments that less confident students had a more difficult time than more confident students differentiating between credible claims and weak claims for products that claimed to help meet a goal.

"The role of confidence in directing behavior, though widely recognized in psychology, has received scant attention in the consumer behavior literature," write the authors. "Weight loss products, alternative medicines, and dietary supplements, are examples of product categories for which reduced confidence may be relevant and for which this illusion of control may be highly prevalent."

Reference: Gustavo De Mello, Deborah J. MacInnis, and David W. Stewart, "Threats to Hope: Effects on Reasoning about Product Information." Journal of Consumer Research: August 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Threats To Hope: Desperation Affects Reasoning About Product Information." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070713131444.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2007, July 15). Threats To Hope: Desperation Affects Reasoning About Product Information. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070713131444.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Threats To Hope: Desperation Affects Reasoning About Product Information." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070713131444.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins