Designing persuasive destination websites: a mental imagery processing perspective
Lee, Woo Jin
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The previous research have found that consumers' choices of vacations may be significantly influenced by mental imagery processing, which is considered to be high elaboration cognitive processing. Mental imagery is defined as an experience that significantly resembles the experience of perceiving some object, event, or scene, but which occurs in the absence of the appropriate stimuli for the relevant object, event, or scene. This study first aims to identify imagery-eliciting Web site features and second, to test their influence on persuasion-related outcomes such as attitude strength, confidence, and attitude resistance. Finally, this study investigates the role of individual processing style (e.g., visualizer or verbalizer) as a moderator variable. A total of 252 subjects participated in a Web-based experiment to examine the influence of selected Web site features on individual imagery processing and its effect on consumers? attitudes and expectations. It involved a 2 (narrative vs. expository text) ? 2 (pictures vs. no picture) ? 2 (sounds vs. no sound) full factorial between-subjects design. The data was analyzed primarily using a structural equation modeling methodology. Structural model results revealed that the mental imagery construct strongly influenced the communication effects, which were represented by attitude strength and attitude confidence. In addition, the results of the study found that the communication effects had a significant impact on attitude resistance. This implies that the stronger attitude creates stronger resistance to a negative impact. In the context of the influence of Web site features (e.g., narrative text, pictures, and sound) inducing mental imagery processing, only pictures have a significant effect on mental imagery processing, which support positive effects of concrete pictures on mental imagery processing. In conclusion, the findings of this study show that mental imagery processing is important. Thus, we need to continue to investigate what forms of Web site designs and features best support imagery processing. More specifically, tourism marketers need to understand how certain stimuli influence mental imagery processing, and then they need to enhance Web site designs to capture potential customers.