Experiencing Products in the Virtual World: The Role of Goal and Imagery in Influencing Attitudes versus Purchase Intentions
The research agenda for this article is to examine how individuals process information presented through virtual interaction with a product (object interactivity) and the impact that this has on their purchase intentions if they are looking for an aesthetic experience (browsers) or to find specific information (searchers). It is proposed that the congruency between users' goals and the delivery of product information will influence discursive processing and thus attitudes. However, what is most effective for creating favorable product attitudes is not necessarily most effective in raising purchase intentions. This is because imagery processing should play a more prominent role in affecting purchase intentions because, when estimating their own behavior, people likely run a mental simulation of themselves performing that behavior. It is predicted that object interactivity will evoke vivid mental images of product use regardless of the users' goals and thus increase intentions. The results of four experiments support these hypotheses. Copyright 2003 by the University of Chicago.
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