Eager Vigilance in Consumer Response to Negative Information: the Role of Regulatory Focus and Information Ambiguity

Negative information about products or companies that consumers encounter in the marketplace is not always certain and clear-cut. This research explores how consumers’ self-regulation affects their response to negative information as a function of information ambiguity. We propose that in a situation of ambiguity (or uncertainty) about negative information, prevention-focused consumers are more susceptible to its influence and are more likely than promotion-focused consumers to downgrade their product evaluations. When negative information is unambiguous and certain, both promotion and prevention-focused consumers will exhibit a large downward attitude change. Three experimental studies tested and confirmed these propositions in three different ambiguous scenarios: (1) when negative product information comes from a source with uncertain credibility; (2) when the cause of a reported product failure is ambiguous, and (3) when product reviews are highly conflicting.


Hua LI and Dwight Merunka (2011) ,"Eager Vigilance in Consumer Response to Negative Information: the Role of Regulatory Focus and Information Ambiguity", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9, eds. Alan Bradshaw, Chris Hackley, and Pauline Maclaran, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 625-627.


Hua LI, University Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille (Cergam) and SKEMA Business School, France
Dwight Merunka, University Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille (Cergam) and Euromed Management Marseilles, France


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9 | 2011

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