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Resistance to persuasion in an anti-consumption context: Biased assimilation of positive product information


Correspondence to: İnci Dursun, Gebze Institute of Technology, Faculty of Business Administration, Cayirova Fabrikalar Yolu, No. 101, 41400, Gebze, Kocaeli, Turkey.



This study investigates the role of biased assimilation processes as cognitive defense mechanisms facilitating resistance to counter-attitudinal persuasive messages. Research is conducted in an anti-consumption context, focusing on consumers with negative attitudes toward frozen food products. It is proposed that effective use of biased assimilation in the case of exposure to counter-attitudinal persuasive messages depends upon the strengths of both initial attitude and counter-attitudinal message. The results of experimental processes confirm the critical roles of initial attitude strength and persuasive message strength in terms of triggering and/or hindering biased assimilation processes. The results further indicate that, when exposed to a positive message, anti-loyal consumers exert higher levels of biased assimilation than consumers with moderate negative attitudes. In addition, with stronger message arguments, effective use of biased assimilation decreases substantially. The results also indicate a robust negative effect of biased assimilation on attitude change. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.