This research examines one aspect of the common but relatively understudied consumer behavior context of group interaction. We argue and demonstrate that the mere anticipation of group discussion can influence people's product attitudes. This occurs because anticipating discussion shifts people's focus toward the criteria dominating what they are mentally rehearsing to discuss. Such a shift is important because people commonly refer primarily to less important information when they explain or prepare to discuss their attitudes. Three studies demonstrate that when people are forming an attitude toward a product while anticipating discussion, this focus on less important information substantially affects people's attitudes toward the product. As a result, depending on the evaluative implications of what is rehearsed, anticipating group discussion can lead to attitudes that are more extreme, more moderate, or similar to those of people not anticipating discussion. Moreover, when the criteria predominantly rehearsed for discussion do not represent how consumers typically evaluate the products, attitudes affected by the group-anticipation context do not correspond to product judgments made outside of the group-anticipation context.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Economics and Econometrics