Thursday, November 19, 2020

Consumers higher in motivations to make sense of their environments tend to detect persuasion where there is none; manipulation beliefs are related, inter alia, to conspiracy ideation & desbelief of free will

Khon, Zarema, Samuel G. B. Johnson, and Haiming Hang. 2020. “Lay Theories of Manipulation: Do Consumers Believe They Are Susceptible to Marketers’ Trickery?.” PsyArXiv. November 19. doi:10.31234/

Rolf Degen's take:

Abstract: Marketers know that persuasion is very hard. So, why are consumers determined that marketers can manipulate them? Across five studies, we show that the beliefs about marketing manipulation have deep psychological roots: Consumers higher in motivations to make sense of their environments tend to not only detect persuasion where it exists, but also where there is none. Such beliefs can be weakened when consumers think of themselves (vs. other consumers) in persuasion situations (study 3) and read concrete (vs. abstract) descriptions of these situations (study 4), but only in consumers with low sense-making drives. Whereas higher sense-making motives manifest in greater false-positive manipulation detection, corresponding abilities negatively affect false-positives and result in more accurate persuasion detection (study 5). The studies also revealed how manipulation beliefs are related to conspiracy ideation, personality traits, beliefs about free will, gender, and age. Implications for marketing segmentation and strategies for attenuating false-positive manipulation detection are discussed.

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