Pictorial content, sequence of conflicting online reviews and consumer decision-making: The stimulus-organism-response model revisited

Abstract: Conflicting online reviews challenge the consumer’s decision-making processes. Furthermore, increase in visual content, both positive and negative, adds complexity. This study analyses conflicting online reviews based on text and photos using automatic processing patterns and conscious perceptions. The study is built on the stimulus-organism-response model revisited by Jacoby (2002), and captures nonlinear eye-tracking data and a questionnaire. A fsQCA analysis suggests that the order of the positive and negative stimuli strongly influence the way respondents perceive the overall meaning of a sequence of online reviews, supporting primacy-recency effects. In addition, the visualization pattern is shown to be similar, regardless of the valence sequence of the online reviews. The visual attention paid to the pictorial content is at the expense of attention paid to the text. Theoretical contributions to the stimulus-organism-response model and managerial implications are proposed.

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