Purchase intentions for products as related to preferences for explicitness in warnings
Vaubel, Kent Patrick
Laughery, Kenneth R., Sr.
Master of Arts
Four experiments are presented which explore consumer preferences for more detailed, or explicit warning information and the effects of such information on anticipated purchases of products. In Experiments 1 and 2, explicit and nonexplicit warning labels were presented for several common consumer products. Results of these studies indicate that products displaying nonexplicit warnings were preferred to those containing explicit warnings. However, this trend was reversed for one product, and for many products the detail with which a warning described potential consequences had little effect on anticipated purchase decisions. An attempt was made in Experiments 3 and 4 to minimize precursors to hazardousness judgements (e.g., familiarity or experience) by using fictitious products. Results of these latter two experiments indicate that regardless of the perceived benefits of an unfamiliar product or the severity, likelihood and controllability of its injuries, an overwhelming buying preference existed for explicit warnings as well as a need to provide more detailed consequence information in the warnings of such products. Overall these findings suggest that the level of detail with which a warning describes potentially harmful consequences of using a product does influence anticipated purchases when uncertainty exists about product-related danger.