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Technological Sophistication Sways Consumers

A technologically sophisticated presentation of performance data can have an impact on how positively that information is evaluated, particularly by novices in the audience. This is according to research recently published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture by Jill Sundie, assistant professor of marketing.

Sundie contributed to the research in collaboration with lead author Rosanna Guadagno from the National Science Foundation and colleagues from University of Alabama and Arizona State University. The article is titled, “The Persuasive Power of Computer-based Multi Media Presentations.”

Participants were asked to review a presentation of a football scout’s favorable report on a potential recruit and evaluate the recruit’s projected success. The subjects chosen were evenly divided between football experts and novices. Each group was given the presentation in either a typed format, as printed PowerPoint charts or as a computer-based animated PowerPoint presentation.

“Can sophisticated presentation software such as PowerPoint or Prezi  make the same performance data look significantly better to an audience, compared to when they see it on a hard copy printed report?” said Sundie, who teaches consumer behavior. “We also wanted to know whether any technology ‘bump’ in evaluations would be the same for audience members who were experts versus novices in the topic.”

Among all study participants, the greater the technological sophistication of the presentation, the more highly they rated the projected success of the football recruit. However, this effect was primarily driven by the higher ratings given by the football novices.

What implication does this have for businesses? “High-tech presentations may not be as effective persuasively to experts in your peer group, but if you are trying to convince a novice in the field to take up your cause, it can’t hurt to go high tech,” she said.

Wendy Frost—

Please send your comments to: wendy.frost@utsa.edu