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The Positive Effect of Contradictory Information: The Effect of Verbal/ Nonverbal Discrepancy on Brand Attitudes in the Short Term and the Long Term


Michal Shapira, Moty Amar and Tsfira Grebelsky-Lichtman

While the field of verbal/nonverbal discrepancy has gained increasing interest in recent years, research in this area related to the effect of discrepant communication on brand attitudes received considerably less attention. This research uncovers a counterintuitive positive persuasive effect of contradictory information, showing that specifiable conditions will be more favorably disposed to a brand attitude when verbal/nonverbal discrepancy is expressed than an otherwise particular type of verbal/nonverbal congruency. This effect was revealed using an experimental design, and was explored both in the short term and in the long term. Participants were exposed to a persuasive message regarding a new brand product and were randomly assigned to four conditions: positive congruency (V+N+), negative congruency (V-N-), leakage discrepancy (V+N-), and adaptive discrepancy (V-N+). The novel findings indicated that adaptive discrepancy (V-N+), had the highest persuasive effect on brand attitudes in the long run. However, leakage discrepancy (V+N-), had a negative effect on brand attitudes, particularly in the long run, eliminating the sleeper effect. The present research expands the multimodal communication approach by presenting an analytical and theoretical framework that delineates the complex persuasive effects of verbal/nonverbal interrelations. Finally, the research develops reliance theory and developmental interactionist theory, regarding nonverbal primacy in persuasion.  

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