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Helpful or Harmful? How Frequent Repetition Affects Perceived Statement Credibility

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On the basis of experimental data, we study how repetition of a statement affects perceived statement credibility. We identify 2 counteracting effects: The first effect, known as “truth effect,” describes a positive relationship between repetition and statement credibility. People tend to ascribe higher credibility to messages that they repeatedly encounter. In contrast, the second effect occurs when repetition is taken too far. Here, an indirect and negative effect is identified and participants start to perceive the message as a persuasive attempt. This perception triggers reactance, which in turn considerably reduces participants' trust in the source and leads to a significant decrease in the overall credibility of the message. Our results broaden the understanding of the benefits and harms of repeated persuasive messages.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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