Additivity versus Attenuation

Additivity versus Attenuation

By
Jennifer Aaker, Jaideep Sengupta
Journal of Consumer Psychology.
2000, Vol. 9, Issue 2, Pages 67-82

Past research on dual process models of persuasion has documented that, when faced with information incongruity, individuals tend to form product evaluations by attenuating the less diagnostic information, relying solely on the more diagnostic information. The current research suggests that this way of resolving incongruity may be culture specific. Consistent with recent research in cultural psychology, this study shows that individuals in a North American culture tend to follow the attenuation strategy, whereas individuals in an East Asian culture tend to follow an additive strategy in which both pieces of information are combined to jointly influence evaluations (Experiment 1). Experiments 2 and 3 provide further support for the proposed psychological mechanism underlying these findings and also identify boundary conditions for these findings. Implications for understanding choice mind-sets, the moderating role of justification on evaluations, and cultural limitations in incongruity resolution are discussed.