Mindless resistance to persuasion: Low self-control fosters the use of resistance-promoting heuristics

Loes Janssen*, Bob M. Fennis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

In our consumer society, people are confronted on a daily basis with unsolicited persuasion attempts. The present research challenges the prevailing view that resisting persuasion is more likely to fail when consumers have low self-control. Four experiments tested the hypothesis that impaired self-regulation may actually facilitate resistance to persuasion when the influence context contains resistance-promoting heuristics. Indeed, participants with low self-control were less likely to comply with a persuasive request (Experiments 1 and 3), reported a less favourable attitude towards an advertised product (Experiment 2), and generated more negative responses towards a persuasive message (Experiment 4) than participants with high self-control, when they could rely on resistance-promoting heuristics: a violation of the norm of reciprocity (Experiments 1 and 3), an advertisement disclaimer (Experiment 2), or negative social proof (Experiment 4). Together, these studies demonstrate that contextual cues can bolster resistance when one does not carefully scrutinize an influence attempt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-549
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Volume16
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • compliance
  • heuristics
  • persuasion
  • resistance
  • self-control
  • REGULATORY RESOURCE DEPLETION
  • EGO-DEPLETION
  • LIMITED-RESOURCE
  • MODERATING ROLE
  • STRENGTH MODEL
  • SOCIAL-INFLUENCE
  • DECISION-MAKING
  • INFORMATION
  • PERSPECTIVE
  • PLACEMENT

Cite this

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title = "Mindless resistance to persuasion: Low self-control fosters the use of resistance-promoting heuristics",
abstract = "In our consumer society, people are confronted on a daily basis with unsolicited persuasion attempts. The present research challenges the prevailing view that resisting persuasion is more likely to fail when consumers have low self-control. Four experiments tested the hypothesis that impaired self-regulation may actually facilitate resistance to persuasion when the influence context contains resistance-promoting heuristics. Indeed, participants with low self-control were less likely to comply with a persuasive request (Experiments 1 and 3), reported a less favourable attitude towards an advertised product (Experiment 2), and generated more negative responses towards a persuasive message (Experiment 4) than participants with high self-control, when they could rely on resistance-promoting heuristics: a violation of the norm of reciprocity (Experiments 1 and 3), an advertisement disclaimer (Experiment 2), or negative social proof (Experiment 4). Together, these studies demonstrate that contextual cues can bolster resistance when one does not carefully scrutinize an influence attempt.",
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author = "Loes Janssen and Fennis, {Bob M.}",
note = "The authors would like to thank Suzan Elshout, Dana Jany, Sanne Valkenburg, and Emiel van Vilsteren for their assistance in data collection.",
year = "2017",
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language = "English",
volume = "16",
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journal = "Journal of Consumer Behaviour",
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Mindless resistance to persuasion : Low self-control fosters the use of resistance-promoting heuristics. / Janssen, Loes; Fennis, Bob M.

In: Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Vol. 16, No. 6, 2017, p. 536-549.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Fennis, Bob M.

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AB - In our consumer society, people are confronted on a daily basis with unsolicited persuasion attempts. The present research challenges the prevailing view that resisting persuasion is more likely to fail when consumers have low self-control. Four experiments tested the hypothesis that impaired self-regulation may actually facilitate resistance to persuasion when the influence context contains resistance-promoting heuristics. Indeed, participants with low self-control were less likely to comply with a persuasive request (Experiments 1 and 3), reported a less favourable attitude towards an advertised product (Experiment 2), and generated more negative responses towards a persuasive message (Experiment 4) than participants with high self-control, when they could rely on resistance-promoting heuristics: a violation of the norm of reciprocity (Experiments 1 and 3), an advertisement disclaimer (Experiment 2), or negative social proof (Experiment 4). Together, these studies demonstrate that contextual cues can bolster resistance when one does not carefully scrutinize an influence attempt.

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