Title: Website trust evaluation as cognitive information processing and the moderating role of situational involvement and e-commerce knowledge

Authors: Chunsik Lee, Jisu Huh

Addresses: Department of Advertising, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA. ' School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota, 206 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

Abstract: Applying the elaboration likelihood model to the initial website trust formation context, this study investigated the cognitive process in which consumers evaluate an unfamiliar website and form website trust. Specifically, it examined consumers| cognitive process of various website design and content factors in the formation of website trust, and the influence of two specific consumer characteristics – situational involvement and e-commerce knowledge – on the cognitive processing. Results from an experiment revealed that the level of e-commerce knowledge was significantly related to the extent of cognitive processing during website trust formation. Also, consumers with a low level of situational involvement and e-commerce knowledge tended to place more focus on website design factors, which are peripheral cues, than did those with a high level of involvement and knowledge. In addition, this study found that consumers with higher levels of involvement were more likely to seek and actively process trust-inducing arguments.

Keywords: website trust; online trust; trust evaluation; elaboration likelihood model; e-commerce knowledge; electronic commerce; cognitive information processing; situational involvement; cognitive information processing; situational involvement; website design; website content.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIMA.2010.032480

International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising, 2010 Vol.6 No.2, pp.168 - 198

Published online: 03 Apr 2010 *

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