Down the Garden Path: The Role of Conditional Inference Processes in Self-Persuasion

Frank R. Kardes, Maria L. Cronley, Manuel C. Pontes, David C. Houghton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Three experiments investigated the effects of conditional inference processes on belief system structure and persuasion. Experiment 1 applied functional measurement procedures to show that Wyer's (1974) subjective probability model of cognitive organization generalizes to belief systems using realistic product stimuli. Experiment 2 demonstrated that belief systems about products become more internally consistent when beliefs within these systems are reported repeatedly (the Socratic effect), especially when brand familiarity is low. Experiment 3 investigated the effects of horizontal versus vertical argument structures in advertising on persuasion. The results show that a persuasion-induced change in 1 belief can alter other related but unmentioned beliefs, and that resistance to persuasion is greater for horizontal than for vertical argument structures. Theoretical and applied implications of these results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


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