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Believe Me, I Have No Idea What I'm Talking About: The Effects of Source Certainty on Consumer Involvement and Persuasion

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  • Uma R. Karmarkar
  • Zakary L. Tormala
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    Abstract

    This research explores the effect of source certainty-that is, the level of certainty expressed by a message source-on persuasion. The authors propose an incongruity hypothesis, suggesting that source certainty effects depend on perceived source expertise. In three experiments, consumers receive persuasive messages from sources of varying expertise and certainty. Across studies, low expertise sources violate expectancies, stimulate involvement, and promote persuasion when they express certainty, whereas high expertise sources violate expectancies, stimulate involvement, and promote persuasion when they express uncertainty. Thus, nonexpert (expert) sources can gain interest and influence by expressing certainty (uncertainty). (c) 2009 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..

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    File URL: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.1086/648381
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 6 (04)
    Pages: 1033-1049

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:36:y:2010:i:6:p:1033-1049

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    Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JCR/

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    Cited by:
    1. Philip M. Fernbach & Steven A. Sloman & Robert St. Louis & Julia N. Shube, 2013. "Explanation Fiends and Foes: How Mechanistic Detail Determines Understanding and Preference," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(5), pages 1115 - 1131.
    2. Bob Fennis & Wolfgang Stroebe, 2014. "Softening the Blow: Company Self-Disclosure of Negative Information Lessens Damaging Effects on Consumer Judgment and Decision Making," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 120(1), pages 109-120, March.

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