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The effect of social proof on people’s risk perception and attitudes towards the use of nanotechnology in food products on Social Network Sites

Hofland, Lilian (2015) The effect of social proof on people’s risk perception and attitudes towards the use of nanotechnology in food products on Social Network Sites.

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Abstract:In two studies, on a fake Facebook page, we investigated two types of social proof found on a Social Network Site by analysing people’s cognition, affect and behavioural intent. The two types of social proof investigated were the ‘comments’ and the ‘number of likes’ under the comments. In study A, people were presented with only one comment valence and either high or low enforcement of the comments. In study B there was a mix of comment valance and depending upon the condition either the positive comments had high enforcement and the negative comments had low enforcement of vice versa. The results have shown that in case all comments were in favour of nanotechnology in food products people had less risk perception, an increased benefit perception and a better attitude towards nanotechnology in food products compared to all negative comments. The ‘number of likes’, however, did not work when it comes to social proof in case of nanotechnology in food products. This study has indicated that people might use a different mental process when they read ‘comments’ compared to observing the ‘number of likes’. In case people read ‘comments’, the ‘number of likes’ do not seem to be of any relevance.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/68714
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