Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Role of Personality Traits and Perceived Values in Persuasion: An Elaboration Likelihood Model Perspective on Online Shopping

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Role of Personality Traits and Perceived Values in Persuasion: An Elaboration Likelihood Model Perspective on Online Shopping

Article excerpt

In recent years, the progress of electronic communication infrastructures has sparked a lot of attention (Martinez-Lopez, Luna, & Martinez, 2005). The influences of personality traits and virtual surroundings are two of a number of important issues that can determine consumers' willingness to engage in online shopping. However, there have been few comprehensive studies related to how the interactions of personality traits and virtual surroundings can impact on individuals' beliefs, attitudes, and purchasing intention.

Holbrook (1986) proposed the classical attitude model that beliefs or cognition (C), affect (A), and behavior (B) are three components of attitude formation. According to this model, consumers initially form beliefs about certain objects by accumulating knowledge with regard to the key attributes of the objects. Once these beliefs are formed, feelings (or affective responses) will then follow. Eventually consumers' behavior-related responses are based on those affective responses (Marquis & Filiatrault, 2000; Solomon, Bermossy, & Askegaard, 2002).

While this CAB attitude model may be useful in explaining the purchasing of high-involvement products, it may not be applicable in the case of online shopping, especially for the low-involvement and high-experiential product. It is suggested (Salo & Karjaluoto, 2007; Yoon, 2002) that the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986; Rucker & Petty, 2006) may be more appropriate to explain the phenomenon of online persuasion. According to the ELM, the route to persuasion depends on people's elaboration level, and this elaboration level can be used to understand how people deal with persuasive messages. According to Petty and Cacioppo, consumers facing a central route situation tend to focus on scrutiny of the issue-related information for decision making, while consumers in a peripheral route situation tend to use cues or heuristics for decision making. The central route is characterized by a high level of motivation and the ability to process the persuasive message, while the peripheral route is characterized by using contextual elements to process the message (Petty, Cacioppo, & Goldman, 1981). Many researchers have viewed involvement and heuristics as two important variables to decide whether consumers will process persuasive messages through a central route or a peripheral route (Eckert & Goldsby, 1997; McCall, Eckrich, Libby, & Garman, 2003). Involvement is more information-searching oriented, whereas heuristics are more environment-oriented. However, very few researchers have evaluated how consumers process or elaborate the persuasive message in the online setting. Thus, this issue merits further study.

Furthermore, the role of personality traits (the Big Five traits) in consumers' cognitive and affective responses has been studied extensively (Babin & Attaway, 2000; Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001; Ho, Weingart, & Rousseau, 2004; Matzler, Bidmon, & Grabner-Krauter, 2006; Mooradian & Swan, 2006; Van Hiel, Cornelis, & Roets, 2007). For example, Matzler et al. contended that openness and extraversion are positively related to the perceived hedonic value of an object. Ho et al. argue that a greater degree of neuroticism will be related to stronger negative affective responses to broken promises and less negative cognitive responses to the other party. Individuals with greater agreeableness are good-natured, gentle, friendly, and generous and these characteristics can create more positive cognitive responses to the other party. Duriez and Soenens (2006) found a significant and positive relationship between conscientiousness and right-wing beliefs. While both personality traits and elaboration likelihood have been regarded as critical constructs for the consumer's evaluation of a persuasive message, very few researchers have examined the interactions between personality traits and elaboration likelihood for online advertising content, and the effect of these on the consumer's perceived values and attitude toward websites. …

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