Consumer Responses to Flattery: Empirical Evidence of the Sinister Attribution Error

This research demonstrates that consumers who are flattered are overly suspicious of the motives and intentions of others. Results across two studies, one a field study, demonstrated that consumers who were flattered prior to purchase accurately adjusted for the presence of ulterior motives and responded negatively to flattery. In contrast, consumers who were flattered after purchase over accounted for the possibility of ulterior motives and responded more negatively than was warranted by the situation. This research serves as some of the first empirical evidence of the sinister attribution error in marketing.


Kelley Main, Darren Dahl, and Peter Darke (2005) ,"Consumer Responses to Flattery: Empirical Evidence of the Sinister Attribution Error", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7, eds. Karin M. Ekstrom and Helene Brembeck, Goteborg, Sweden : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 553-554.


Kelley Main, York University
Darren Dahl, University of British Columbia
Peter Darke, University of British Columbia


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 7 | 2005

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