To Save or Discard? Extend or Hide? What We Believe We Do Drives the Effect of Actions on Thought Usage and Evaluation
59 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 1, 2018
This research posits that what consumers believe they are doing in actions related to their thoughts drives the impact of those thoughts on subsequent evaluations. We demonstrate that thoughts can be treated as if they were physical objects and that the actions performed related to their thoughts and the presumed meaning of those actions determine the impact of those thoughts on evaluative judgments. In this research, participants first wrote either positive or negative thoughts about various consumers’ products and services. Then, participants chose (study 1) or were assigned (studies 2, 3, and 4) to perform different actions with those written thoughts. The meanings of these actions were varied to indicate either high validity (e.g., saving, extending) or low validity (e.g., deleting, hiding) with respect to their thoughts. We hypothesized and found that performing actions associated with a meaning of validity (vs. invalidity) increased reliance on those thoughts in forming evaluations and behavioral intentions. Furthermore, the validity of those actions’ meanings impacted attitudes by affecting the proposed mediating mechanism (thought confidence). Among other implications, these findings provide the first mediational evidence regarding thought-objectification, extending the work on embodiment, meta-cognition, and consumer evaluation.
Keywords: embodiment, attitudes, persuasion, metacognition, validation, confidence
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