Beyond Skepticism: Can Accessing Persuasion Knowledge Bolster Credibility?
As defined by Friestad and Wright (1994), persuasion knowledge is personal knowledge about persuasion attempts that consumers develop and use whenever they believe they are targets of persuasion. A significant majority of research on persuasion knowledge has suggested that persuasion knowledge and skepticism invariably go hand in hand, and that accessing persuasion knowledge therefore leads consumers to evaluate the agent and its offering less favorably. Across four studies, the authors demonstrate the novel effect that persuasion knowledge access can lead to greater credibility (rather than greater skepticism), a finding that they argue is theoretically consistent with Friestad and Wright’s (1994) Persuasion Knowledge Model. Further, the authors demonstrate that when a persuasive agent uses a credible tactic, persuasion knowledge access can lead consumers to evaluate the agent and its offering more (rather than less) favorably. They also develop and test a new approach for increasing persuasion knowledge access in lab experiments, which can facilitate the investigation of other occasions where persuasion knowledge access increases trust and belief in a persuasive message.
Isaac, Mathew and Kent Grayson. 2017. Beyond Skepticism: Can Accessing Persuasion Knowledge Bolster Credibility?. Journal of Consumer Research. 43(6): 895-912.