Examining psychological effects of source cues and social plugins on a product review website
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Towson University. Department of Mass Communication
Citation of Original Publication
Kim, H-S., Brubaker, P.J., & Seo, K. (2015). Examining psychological effects of source cues and social plugins on a product review website. Computers in Human Behavior, 49 (C), 74-85. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.02.058
This study examines the psychological effects of heuristic cues on a product review website to gain a better understanding of online agency. A between-participants experiment of 458 college students confirmed the formation of more positive attitudes toward a product review website when an expert rather than a computer/website served as the source of product review information, specifically when the expert source was accompanied by a rating of four stars vs. one star. A product review authored by other users also induced more favorable attitudes toward the website when it was presented with a higher level of star ratings than a lower one. The study also revealed perceived authority and bandwagon heuristics mediated the relationship between the presence of social plugins and favorable attitudes toward the website via credibility perceptions. Findings not only underscored the power of the authority and bandwagon cues when users make quick judgments on product review sites but also discovered a theoretical path that explained the role of social plugins—a seal of credibility—on e-commerce sites. Theoretical and practical implications are also discussed for designing information-based websites.