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Spaced Out in Cyberspace? Evaluations of Computer-Based Information


  • 1The authors thank Michael Morris, Batia Wiesenfeld, and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.


This study draws on cognitive elaboration theory to examine when and why people evaluate computer-based information more favorably than information from a less automated source. Half of participants received information from a computer, while half received the identical information from a less automated source. Moreover, participants were induced to be more vs. less involved in the information-acquisition process. As predicted, participants in the low-involvement condition evaluated the information more favorably when it came from a computer than from a less automated source. This difference was eliminated in the high-involvement condition. Further supporting our reasoning, the interaction effect between information source and level of involvement was more pronounced for participants low, rather than high, in need for cognition.