Effects of Social and Temporal Distance on Consumers’ Responses to Peer Recommendations
Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming
40 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2010
Date Written: August 29, 2010
This paper examines the interplay of social and temporal distance on consumers’ responses to others’ recommendations. Drawing on research on psychological distance and the “fit” literature, the authors hypothesize that others’ recommendation is more persuasive when the construal levels associated with both social distance and temporal distance are congruent. Specifically, the authors first demonstrate a time-contingent effect of recommendation, i.e., others’ recommendations lead to a greater preference shift when people make decisions for distant-future consumption than for near-future consumption (Studies 1 and 2). Second, contrary to conventional wisdom, the authors find that close others do not always have greater impact than distant others. Instead, recommendations from close others are more influential in shifting near-future preferences than those from distant others, whereas recommendations from distant others are more influential than those from close others in shifting distant-future preferences (Study 3). As the underlying mechanism, the authors demonstrate that others’ recommendation is perceived to be more relevant when there is a match between the social and temporal distance. Research and managerial implications are discussed.
Keywords: preference over time, construal level, recommendation, WOM, consumer reviews
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