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When Blemishing Leads to Blossoming: The Positive Effect of Negative Information

Danit Ein-Gar, Baba Shiv and Zakary L. Tormala
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 38, No. 5 (February 2012), pp. 846-859
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/660807
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/660807
Page Count: 14
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When Blemishing Leads to Blossoming: The Positive Effect of Negative
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Abstract

This research uncovers a counterintuitive effect of negative information, showing that under specifiable conditions people will be more favorably disposed to a product when a small dose of negative information is added to an otherwise positive description. This effect is moderated by processing effort and presentation order, such that the enhanced positive disposition toward the product following negative information emerges when the information is processed effortlessly rather than effortfully and when the negative information follows rather than precedes positive information. Four studies demonstrate this blemishing effect in both lab and field settings and explore the proposed mechanism and boundary conditions.

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