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Title: The role of culture in the resolution of information incongruity
Authors: Aaker, Jennifer L.
Sengupta, Jaideep
Keywords: Information incongruity
Cultural psychology
Attenuation strategy
Additive strategy
Cultural differences
Evaluation strategies
Issue Date: Sep-1997
Series/Report no.: Marketing Working Paper Series ; MKTG 97.099
Abstract: Past research on dual process models of persuasion has documented that, when faced with incongruity between attribute and source information, consumers tend to form product evaluations by attenuating the less diagnostic (source) information and relying solely on the more diagnostic (attribute) information. The current research suggests that this relationship is moderated by an important cultural variable: individualism-collectivism. Drawing on research in cultural psychology, we suggest and show that while members of an individualist culture tend to follow the attenuation strategy described above, members of a collectivist culture tend to follow an additive strategy wherein both source and attribute information impact product evaluations. Two additional experiments were conducted to provide further support for the proposed psychological mechanism underlying these results, and determine whether these cultural differences are stable across contexts. Experiment 2 demonstrated that high involvement leads collectivists to adopt an attenuation strategy when faced with incongruity, while Experiment 3 showed that individualists engage in an additive strategy when confronted with incongruity under conditions of high accountability. Together, these results qualify the cultural differences found in Experiment 1 by showing that different evaluation strategies such as additivity and attenuation are not unique to a particular culture.
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