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《Acta Psychologica Sinica》 2007-02
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The Relationship between Attitude Strength and Attitude Accessibility in Brand Evaluation

Fan Chunlei1, Zhang Ailing2 (1Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China)(2International Business School, Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing 100083, China)  
Introduction Brand attitude accessibility is related to brand attitude strength, which is usually viewed as a well-established feature of attitude strength. However, there might be accessibility difference between positive and negative attitudes, and the difference might influence the relationship between attitude accessibility and attitude strength. This study focused on whether the relationship between attitude accessibility and attitude strength is symmetric when brand evaluations changed from positive to negative. Paper-and-pencil questionnaire and response-time technique were used to investigate this question. Our hypothesis was that, a strong correlation between attitude accessibility and attitude strength would exist only when judgment on brand attributes was positive. Method One hundred seventy female subjects were consumers of the same brand of functional food (average age = 46 years old, SD=6.21), recruited through the telephone by research assistants. The subjects were asked to rate the importance of each brand attributes (29 items) about functional foods. At the first stage, subjects were asked to complete a 5 point likert-type questionnaire, to indicate the importance of each brand attributes (where 1 = least important, 5 = most important). Their responses were defined as the degree of brand attitude strength. At the second stage, brand attitude accessibility was measured. Subjects were asked to give a "Yes/No" judgment on the above mentioned responses (memory-based). If one attribute was rated as most important or more important at the first stage, the subjects should give a "Yes" response; if one attribute was rated as least important or less important at the first stage, the subjects should give a "No" response. Their response time for every judgment was recorded by the computer, as indicator of brand accessibility. Results (a) Average response speed for positive judgment on brand attributes was significantly faster than that for negative judgment on brand attributes(2993ms vs. 3617ms, F=28.72,p0.0001). (b) When subjects had positive judgments on brand attributes, a significant power function relationship between attitude accessibility and attitude strength existed (R2=0.97, p0.001). In contrast, when subjects had negative judgments on brand attributes, we did not find such significant function relationship (R2=0.48, p=0.06). (c) When subjects had neutral attitudes toward some brand attributes, they were asked to make a definite judgment, either positive or negative. Under this circumstance, 67% of subjects gave a negative response, and the negative response time was longer than their positive response time. Conclusion Our results indicated that, accessibility difference between positive and negative attitude did exist in brand evaluation, which supported the argument of asymmetric association between positive and negative attitude. A strong correlation between attitude strength and attitude accessibility existed only when the subjects had positive attitude towards brand attributes. This study's practical implication is that, from positive to negative (say, satisfaction to dissatisfaction), the consumer's brand evaluation does not necessarily change with the equal interval on the degree of attitude strength. We should keep in mind of this when analyzing data about brand attitudes.
【CateGory Index】: F713.55
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