Effects of debriefing in marketing research involving “Mild” deceptions

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Abstract

Although behavioral researchers in marketing frequently deceive their subjects, relatively few report postexperimental debriefings. We hypothesize that researchers may avoid debriefings because (a) they feel their deceptions are so minor that debriefings are unnecessary, and (b) they fear possible negative reactions when subjects learn of the deceptions. We present the results of an experiment in which we measured debriefing effects on subjects who received such “mild” deceptions. Our results suggest that researchers have little to fear from conducting debriefings in these situations. We conclude by making several suggestions for administering debriefings and by identifying several issues concerning the effects of debriefings and deceptions that warrant future research.

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