How Warnings About False Claims Become Recommendations
University of Toronto
University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research (ISR)
Denise C. Park
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Psychology
University of Southern California - Department of Psychology
Journal of Consumer Research, Forthcoming
Telling people that a consumer claim is false can make them misremember it as true. In two experiments older adults were especially susceptible to this "illusion of truth" effect. Repeatedly identifying a claim as false helped older adults remember it as false in the short term, but paradoxically made them more likely to remember it as true after a three-day delay. This unintended effect of repetition comes from increased familiarity with the claim itself, but decreased recollection of the claim's original context. Findings provide insight into susceptibility over time to memory distortions and exploitation via repetition of claims in media and advertising.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: Older consumers, beliefs, memory, learning, public policy issues
JEL Classification: M30, M31, M37
Date posted: April 19, 2004
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