Don't let the facts ruin a good story: The effect of vivid reviews on attitude ambivalence and its coping mechanisms

Guy Itzchakov, Moty Amar, Frenk Van Harreveld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purchasing decisions are increasingly based on reviews by fellow consumers which often consist of positive and negative evaluations about the product (i.e. valence-inconsistency). We tested how the vividness of these reviews affects individuals' attitude ambivalence towards the product and their strategies to cope with this ambivalence. We hypothesized that reading vivid and valence-inconsistent reviews would lead to increased awareness of opposing features of attitudes towards the product (i.e. increased simultaneous accessibility) as compared to reading less vivid valence-inconsistent reviews. If this is indeed the case, individuals should feel more conflicted towards the attitude object (i.e. increased subjective ambivalence) and should be motivated to reduce it by using ambivalence-coping strategies, specifically (a) processing additional information that is congruent with their initial attitude and (b) delaying their decision. These hypotheses were mostly supported across five experiments. The experiments included manipulations of valence-inconsistent information between reviews and within a review including three preregistered studies (Ns = 247, 396, 701, 433, 313, respectively).

Original languageEnglish
Article number103938
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Guy Itzchakov's contribution was supported by grant # 460/18 from the Israel Science Foundation .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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