Self or other: Compatibility between emotion and message referent

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Yuanyuan Cai
Li Pan
Jiaxun He
Cite this article:  Cai, Y., Pan, L., & He, J. (2014). Self or other: Compatibility between emotion and message referent. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 42(9), 1575-1584.


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We examined how compatibility between the self-/other-relatedness dimension of discrete emotion and the focal referent in advertisements (self or family) influence persuasive effect. We conducted 2 experiments and demonstrated that when respondents are primed with a self-related emotion (e.g., happiness, pride), an advertisement focused on self (vs. family) is more effective at producing a positive product attitude and in stimulating purchase intention. However, when respondents are primed with an other-related emotion (e.g., peacefulness, empathy), a message focused on family (vs. self) is more effective. Findings and theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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