Anonymous and Unanimous: the Impact of Anonymity on Judgments of Opinion Representativeness

Dilney Goncalves, INSEAD, France
Amitava Chattopadhyay, INSEAD, Singapore
Opinions can be anonymous or have the author identified. Identified authors are usually perceived as more credible, but another important factor is how representative of a larger population an opinion is. Building on attribution theories we hypothesize that identified opinions are more easily attributed to idiosyncratic characteristics of its author. In two studies we show that identified customer feedback leads to lower estimates of representativeness and the effect is moderated by expectedness of the opinion and need for cognitive closure. Both moderators are known to lead to greater engagement in causal attributions, which suggests that this is the underlying mechanism.
[ to cite ]:
Dilney Goncalves and Amitava Chattopadhyay (2010) ,"Anonymous and Unanimous: the Impact of Anonymity on Judgments of Opinion Representativeness", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 805-806 .