Once Bitten, Twice Shy: Differences in Social Efficacy Affect the Perceived Efficacy of Anthropomorphizable Products

Bart Claus, K.U. Leuven, Belgium
Luk Warlop, K.U. Leuven, Belgium
In two experiments, we look at whether people’s difficulties in maintaining social interactions with other humans also affect their judgments about nonhuman objects that can be subject to anthropomorphization, i.e. that are imbued with characteristics to be interpreted as human. Previous research shows that loneliness is a driver of the susceptibility to anthropomorphize. Differences in social efficacy can also lead to loneliness, but might not entail the need for others. We show that low social efficacy, chronic as well as induced, leads to reduced estimates of anthropomorphized products’ ability to fulfill their designed function – but not that of nonanthropomorphic products.
[ to cite ]:
Bart Claus and Luk Warlop (2010) ,"Once Bitten, Twice Shy: Differences in Social Efficacy Affect the Perceived Efficacy of Anthropomorphizable Products", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 779-781 .