“The Meaning of Consumer Actions Drives Thought Usage in Self Persuasion” by TaeWoo Kim, Adam Duhachek, Pablo Briñol and Richard E. Petty

“The Meaning of Consumer Actions Drives Thought Usage in Self Persuasion” by TaeWoo Kim, Adam Duhachek, Pablo Briñol and Richard E. Petty

The current research demonstrates that thoughts can be treated as if they were physical objects, and that the actions performed related to these thoughts and the presumed meaning of those actions determine the impact of those thoughts on evaluative judgments. Across four studies, consumers first wrote either positive or negative thoughts about various consumers’ products and services. Then, consumers performed different actions with those written thoughts. The meanings of these actions were varied to indicate either high validity (e.g., saving, extending, sharing) or low validity (e.g., deleting, hiding, archiving) with respect to their thoughts. We hypothesized and found that performing actions associated with a meaning of validity (vs. invalidity) increased reliance on those thoughts in forming evaluations and behavioral intentions. Furthermore, the validity of those actions’ meanings impacted attitudes by affecting the proposed mediating mechanism (thought confidence). Among other implications, these findings provide the first mediational evidence regarding thought-objectification, extending the work on embodiment, meta-cognition, and consumer evaluation.

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