, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 615-628

It’s all in the mindset: Effects of varying psychological distance in persuasive messages

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Abstract

The current research shows that the persuasive impact of messages can be maximized if their framing is matched to where target consumers are in their decision making process at the time they evaluate the message. Results from two experimental studies show that consumers who are in the predecisional phase of decision making are more likely to be persuaded by messages framed using psychologically distant orientation (i.e., focusing on the future or targeting a distant other), whereas consumers who are in the postdecisional phase are more likely to be persuaded by messages using psychologically close orientation (i.e., focusing on the present or targeting a close other). Evidence of the process through which these effects occur is provided by showing that consumers in a pre- versus postdecisional mindset identify their actions in terms of the actions’ high- versus low-level identities, respectively.