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EMAC 2022 Annual

When is Marketing Artificial Intelligence Perceived to be Manipulative? An Empirical Investigation about the Role of Concept of Human Nature

Published: May 24, 2022


Robin Pade, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Marketing & Sales Research Group; Martin Klarmann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)


Extant research demonstrates that consumers are concerned about firms┬┤ use of artificial intelligence (AI) along their online customer journey to exert influence. Simultaneously, firms employ cunning AI in increasing quantity, resulting in accusations of manipulative practices. To avoid adverse consequences for firms, it is crucial to know what type of AI is considered manipulative and which intrinsic factors affect consumers┬┤ perceived manipulation. Concepts of human nature can be such a factor. Prior research shows that perceived control over one's own consumption behavior depends on individually preferred concept of human nature dimensions. An online survey provides evidence that the degree of AI manipulation perceived by consumers depends on individual concepts of human nature. The results imply that the use of particularly influential AI should either be reduced or can even be intensified depending on consumers┬┤ concept of human nature to ensure desired consequences for marketers.