No product is perfect: The positive influence of acknowledging the negative

Thinking and Reasoning 20 (4):500-512 (2014)
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Negative acknowledgement is an impression management technique that uses the admission of an unfavourable quality to mitigate a negative response. Although the technique has been clearly demonstrated, the underlying process is not well understood. The current research identifies a key mediator and moderator while also demonstrating that the effect extends beyond the specific acknowledged domain to the overall evaluation of a target object. The results of study 1 indicate that negative acknowledgement works through mitigating negatively valenced cognitive responses. People who are presented with a negative acknowledgement are less likely to counterargue when forming an evaluation. The results of study 2 reveal that individual differences in need for structure impact the effectiveness of the technique. People who are high in need for structure are more susceptible to the effect presumably because of their desire for easy-to-use information that aids the formation and maintenance of simple knowledge structures



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