Three experiments were conducted to assess how an approaching group discussion influences consumers' product thoughts. It was proposed that, in preparation for discussion, people cognitively rehearse product thoughts that appear appropriate for discussion. In each study, participants read a restaurant review and then anticipated either discussing the restaurant in a focus group or responding individually. Across the studies, various cues were manipulated regarding the type of information appropriate for discussion (utilitarian vs. social image information). Compared to those in the individual condition, those anticipating a group discussion were more responsive to appropriateness cues: Their listed thoughts were more consistent with the cue than those in the individual condition. Yet, the group-anticipation effect did not influence product judgments regarding the restaurant. These findings suggest that an approaching discussion causes people to tailor their responses in a strategic manner, as a mental rehearsal for the upcoming discussion, without altering their personal views about the product. A third experiment demonstrated that this group-anticipation effect on listed thoughts carried over to the information shared and the product concerns expressed during discussion, suggesting that responses in actual discussion reflected what people had rehearsed in anticipation of discussion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology